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"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!

            1. Interesting, because I found Dealfind actually has a coupon for La Casita Mexicana today.. Hmm.. Now I'm tempted to buy

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              La Casita Mexicana
              507 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A9, CA

              5 Replies
              1. re: sabz3003

                Living Social has their deal of the day on today, Monday, February 7th for La Casita Mexicana.

                -----
                La Casita Mexicana
                507 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S 0A9, CA

                1. re: Jenn K

                  I bought a coupon, but I'm a little worried because on Urbanspoon, there is a number of recent reviewers that complained about the food. Has anyone been recently?

                  1. re: clouie

                    I went there a few weeks back for dinner. It was disappointing. The mole was one note and tasted burnt. They didn't have two of the items listed on the menu - the chile rellenos and the posole. The tacos were passable. I won't go back.

                    1. re: auxtruffes

                      Ouch! This does not sound appealing. Think I'll give this one a pass

                    2. re: clouie

                      I gave my friends my coupon. This restaurant also got a lukewarm review: http://ugonnaeatthat.com/2011/03/06/c...

                2. Wicked Chili is on a Groupon today, $20 for $50 worth of food and drink. Is this place worth the trip?

                  -----
                  Wicked Chili
                  507 17 Ave SW, Calgary, AB T2S, CA

                  1. Any current reviews or suggestions as to what to get? I was going to try it for lunch tomorrow. Are they still running the lunch buffet? Thanks.

                    13 Replies
                    1. re: piano boy

                      if you're trying it tomorrow, let us know!

                      1. re: nonlinear

                        One of the most bizarre dining experiences I've had. Went on 5/13/2011 for lunch. Here's a brief synopsis of how it went.

                        - There was no buffet. Short menu only.
                        - SO ordered a margarita and the waiter said he didn't have time to make one. She ordered a coke and it came after we'd finished our mains.
                        - Appetizer (chorizo queso) came without tortillas, waited 10 minutes then started to eat with a fork. Tortillas showed up when we were done.
                        - Soundtrack was the original MC Hammer album. Can't touch this. (I'm not joking)

                        It looked like a pop up restaurant. There was some vinyl faux wood flooring that had been laid down over the carpet but there were gaps along the edge of the room. Only one person front of house for both the Mexican and Indian place. I understand that he was busy but the timing of the whole meal was ridiculous.

                        Food itself? Flavours were well balanced, portions decent, the deep fried ice cream for dessert was excellent. Was overpriced IMO, could have used more sides (rice/beans/condiments) to hit the value mark.

                        Love what they're trying to do but it feels like pinocchio trying to be a real boy. When/if this place becomes a real restaurant I might try it again.

                        1. re: piano boy

                          Thanks Senior Manzo my stomach loves you for telling me about a few places. I'll have to check this out.

                          1. re: The Gut

                            i would stay away, manzo is always overly positive about everything, but this place has gotten nothing but terrible reviews on urbanspoon: http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/15/155623...

                            i was going to try and go tonight, but would never risk it now after reading those reviews.

                            1. re: nonlinear

                              I nearly tried it at lylac festival but they were not sure what they had left over and I was just hoping to grab a taco and not a full meal.

                              He hasn't steared me wrong for YYC mex so I'm ready for an eventual let down. Until then I'll keep enjoying three spectacular places and will check this out eventually I hope.

                              1. re: nonlinear

                                OK those reviews are pretty tough to overlook. I suspect it's gone down hill since they quit the buffet. Oh well.

                                1. re: The Gut

                                  i know, i can't beleive it... i don't think i've ever seen a restaurant with such terrible reviews!

                                  1. re: nonlinear

                                    That many bad reviews smacks of a smear job or disgruntled ex-employee.

                                    1. re: maplesugar

                                      Agreed. Either that or a restaurant worth going to for the surreality alone. Like watching a bad movie with friends.

                                      1. re: maplesugar

                                        LOL no way, most of the negative reviews there were written by people who have done several other reviews - i highly doubt this ex-employee is going to spend time doing this just to post negative reviews. also, the writing style varies widely between posts. it would take a pretty skilled person to pull THAT off, and I doubt such a person would be working as an employee at a restaurant.

                                        1. re: maplesugar

                                          Maple, I've been to the Indian side only and the buffet there is the most forgettable buffet I've ever had, of any stripe. I can't believe the Mex side is comparatively mucho better.

                                    2. re: nonlinear

                                      Of course, Urban Spoon IS the website that lists La Viena and CB Drive-In as the number 2 and 3 best restaurants in NW Calgary.

                            2. I was very glad I had bought some kind of a coupon for this place because if I had paid the full asking price for the horrendous meal I had at this place I would have been super upset. To agree with some previous comments it was all just a super bizarre experience overall. I see it has changed names but it is just way too weird for a Mexican restaurant and an Indian one to be sharing a space.. There was nobody else there during my visit on the Mexican side- they had ran out of beer, took forever to bring everything, disgusting mushy cold refried beans, really werid guacamole , fishy smelling fish, and they had sprinkled parsley all over everything! All the food was really gross- cold, no flavour, bad presentation, and expensive. The server was very friendly and hospitable- probably the one good thing about the visit. I live in Puerto Vallarta for part of the year & Calgary for part of the year, and also spend most of my waking hours cooking and researching cooking so I do not feel any of my comments are unjustified. The food was truly horrible, in no way shape or form actually Mexican cuisine and I was just super disappointed in the meal- one of the worst i have ever had in YYC. Would not want any other fellow foodies to waste their time or money on this place.