Welcome to the Neighborhood

For weeks we watched the former home of Yoshimatsu restaurant on Campbell Avenue undergo a massive transformation. The tiled roof disappeared. The outer walls were converted into sleek block. Even the plants in front were pulled up and replaced.

And then somewhere in all the construction a sign went up – “Casa Valencia – Coming in September”. A little research resulted in discovering that this would be a second site for Casa Valencia which seemed to be a very popular Mexican seafood restaurant on the far Southside.casavalencia


I’m not sure when the doors actually opened but all of a sudden there were blue umbrellas out front and cars in the parking lot.

Time to check it out.

The inside changes were as startling as the outside ones were. All the tired old wood had been replaced with sleek grey walls. The creaky wooden tables and booths were gone as was the funky little shop that sold little Asian oddities. Cleaner, newer, sleeker, the space borders on sophistication.

Service was pleasant although a little unpolished but the food arrived in a timely manner.

Shrimp can be found in numerous iterations. We ordered the shrimp tacos and shrimp culichi.

The first time I had shrimp culichi was when I moderated a session at the Tucson Festival of Books where Janos Wilder presented the dish. One taste and I was hooked. Culichi is a creamy, green chile sauce. Shrimp is baked in the sauce. The result is heaven. Janos let me take the remainders home. It was gone in no time.

Casa Valencia’s shrimp culichi wasn’t as intense as Janos’ version, but nonetheless it was tasty. I used the three flour tortillas to sop up as much of the sauce as I could.  I most certainly would order this again.

Please note this photo was

The shrimp tacos were also very good. Packed with plump, tender, tempura-battered shrimp, three tacos were more than enough to satisfy.

The menu is large at Casa Valencia so there is much to explore on future visits.

PS – Yoshimatsu is in the process of moving up the street next to Brushfire BBQ and should be open soon.