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Dec 2, 2010 07:38 PM

"La Casita Mexicana" in Wicked Chili (17th Ave SW), Cgy: You'd never expect this to work, but it does.

Wicked Chili is a growing local Indian chain that opened a location last summer in the space that was Kashmir, on 17th Ave SW just west of 4th St, near Bob The Fish. I'd only eaten there once and was unimpressed; the lunch buffet spread was small and the rice was very poor, mushy. I shared my opinion with the owner who was very keen to get my opinions, but I had not been back until today...

...because in the same address I found a listing for "La Casita Mexicana lunch buffet" on urbanspoon. I wondered if this was a new resto or of it was the same odd side project- I don't know what to call it- that WC used to have with a Hakka menu. That too was a separate listing but it was still WC. I don't get what this is called or why it was listed as a separate business (search for it on urbanspoon to see what I mean). In any case I wandered in today for lunch and sure enough, there's a (much MUCH better looking than my first visit) Indian buffet and a whole separate steam table that was Mexican. It was a bit of an odd spread since Mex doesn't seem to mesh well with "buffet" (though I'd seen it before); as well, every dish was chicken: Chicken taquitos, chicken tacos of a sort that had fajita fixings inside a crispy (not Old El Paso crispy, but crispy) shell, three salsas, and three non-tortilla based things: a DELICIOUS chicken posole, a chicken ranchero with a sort of creamy chopitle sauce, and a thinner sort of stew with bone-in chicken, so chicken chicken chicken chicken and chicken.

But it was really good! The "tacos" and taquitos were addictive little buggers and not at all junky tasting. The posole was superb. I had the chicken ranchero with the basmati rice from the Indian side and it worked great.

The thing that explains this weird fusion is that one of the cooks is Mexican (very cute Cesar-Milan-looking guy) and the owner is experimenting and giving him an outlet. No matter how odd it seems, I can't imagine staying away for long for all-I-can-eat Mex for $12.99 at lunch.

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  1. What a strange and fun find! Thanks John.

    1. Where are the new locations of Wicked Chili growing? As far as I understand they closed their location in Symons Valley area. When a restaurant closes that does not sound like they are growing, Please explain.

      1 Reply
      1. re: throwdown

        You'd better ask them. I don't work for Wicked Chili. I'd always understood that they had ambitions of opening other locations.

      2. The east half of Wicked Chili is going to be la Casita Mexicana (sounds like a sub-lease arrangement) and they are going to be opening in a week or so.

        1. Huh. This sounds great. Happy accidents, I suppose. Shall definitely try.

          1. I stumbled across this place tonight and thought it was pretty decent! They told me they've only been open for a week.

            I ordered the chicken enchiladas with a verde mole sauce. The chicken was well seasoned, shredded and tender, served with spanish rice and black beans. Yum. John is right, you must get the posole! It is superb. My friend had the tortilla soup -- also tasty. They gave us an enormous quantity of guacamole and fresh salsa, which pretty much guaranteed my return. Everything was garnished with fresh salad, limes, and radish, and we had a fantastic fried ice cream for dessert.

            The restaurant also has a strolling singer whom you can tip on your way out. I did not hear her sing, as the restaurant tonight was sadly completely empty, and I ordered to go. I met the chef who is from Mexico and had been working at another restaurant downtown before opening with La Casita. He said the restaurant is closed Mondays, open until 10pm and 2am on weekends (nice to have another late-night dining option in the city), and apparently there is also wifi, delivery, and it is BYOB. Sounds excellent! The dual Wicked Chili-next door aspect was a bit confusing at first, but I hope they stay open.

            I would definitely recommend you guys try it, and let me know what you think!