A&E

Fiesta Rancho’s Culichi Town leads Stations’ Mexican food renaissance

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Culichi Town makes it fun to explore.
Photo: Wade Vandervort

If I had to pick one cuisine to eat for the rest of my life, it would be a tough toss-up between Mexican and Japanese. At the newly opened Culichi Town inside Fiesta Rancho, I can get my fix of both.

Culichi Town, which replaces Garduños, Blue Agave Bar and Club Tequila, takes a bold step into the world of food fusion while staying true to the flavors and styles of Sinaloan cuisine, blending two vastly different gastronomical styles into one fun concept.

Created by Ramon Guerrero and his family more than a decade ago in Rialto, California, Culichi Town focuses on seafood or mariscos—camarones (shrimp), pulpo (octopus), langostinos (langoustines) and more—served up in creative ways that borrow from other cultures. Appetizers like marlin quesadillas ($3) and shrimp empanadas ($10) are a good place to start before you dive into Culichi’s selection of rollos empanizados, aka deep-fried sushi rolls—purists be damned.

You’ve probably never had “sushi” like this before, which makes the experience that more interesting and Instagram-worthy. For example, the Vegas Roll ($13) combines cream cheese, avocado, beef, Monterey Jack cheese, salsa verde and Sriracha—yes, that’s beef and two types of cheese, in sushi-form—while the Guamuchilito ($14) comes loaded with cream cheese, avocado, shrimp and imitation crab, Tampico and eel sauce.

Other seafood dishes include an array of botanas—like the aguachile verde with shrimp curtido, cucumber, onion and salsa verde—along with shrimp cocktails and molcajetes. Culichi Town offers 11 different tostadas, but you can’t pay the restaurant a visit without ordering the one stacked with shrimp ceviche, which includes cucumber, tomato, onion, salsa negra and a heaping mound of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos ($12)—because why not?

December’s launch of Culichi Town completed Stations’ latest round of Mexican food updates, which focuses on more authentic offerings for locals, beginning with a menu refresh of Santa Fe Station’s Cabo Mexican restaurant in the fall. Cabo’s makeover led to the opening of Texas Station’s ice cream shop La Flor de Michoacan. A mom-and-pop paleteria in Las Vegas since 2006, La Flor offers more than 20 different ice cream flavors, 30 types of paletas (ice cream bars) and eight different aguas frescas, plus popsicles, milkshakes and more.

By embracing already established family-owned businesses and longtime regional favorites, the casino company is tapping into the growing local Latino market and recognizing the diversity of Las Vegas. In December, Boulder Station brought back another local favorite, Guadalajara.

A staple at both Boulder and Palace Station in the ’90s, the resurrected Guadalajara features new menu items created in part by chef Salvador Esperanza that cover plenty of ground, from staples like carne asada enchiladas and juicy carnitas to camarones al mojo and Mexican street-food favorites like tacos al pastor, chilaquiles and the zesty campechana—a mixture of shrimp, oysters and octopus in a seafood broth and served with lime, tostadas and crackers.

That brings me back to Culichi Town. While the Sinaloan-style haunt offers both traditional and outside-the-box takes on Mexican food, it also embraces other aspect of Mexican culture, bringing live banda and norteño music into the restaurant, which doubles as a 700-seat live entertainment venue seven days a week. The environment is lively and energetic, making it the perfect place to jump-start the weekend. Grab a margarita or VIP michelada to accompany all the tangy, juicy goodness you’re about to order and you won’t need any other excuse to celebrate.

Culichi Town Fiesta Rancho, 702-638-5602. Monday-Thursday, 10 am.-11 p.m.; Friday-Sunday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m.

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Leslie Ventura is a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly and Industry Weekly. She’s picked the brains of rock stars ...

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