Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More Fish Tacos from Rubio's

I discovered Rubio's a month or so ago, when I went to redeem my free birthday dinner coupon.  I was impressed then by the quality of the food, the flavors, and the price point.  Casual dining hadn't exactly been my style for quite a while, and it far exceeded my expectations, and reminded me that I can really enjoy more casual venues.

Last week, I was invited to try out their new menu offering: tilapia tacos.  Since I'd enjoyed my previous tacos, I was happy to go and try another one, even if I'm not crazy about tilapia.

Like last time, the restaurant was not busy.  I went at 5:30pm, and there was only one other customer.  They had nice music playing, the space was clean, the staff friendly.

In general, Rubio's seems very consistent.  Even though this was a totally different taco, I had the same basic feeling when I left, that it was good, and I'll likely return.  Like all of my other Rubio's tacos, it was served hot and fresh.  The ingredients again all seemed pretty high quality.  The flavors popped, particularly the sauces and seasonings.
 Regal Springs® Blackened Tilapia Taco. $3.59.
I had the choice of a grilled tilapia or blackened tilapia taco.  I asked the person taking my order for her recommendation, and she said the blackened one, no contest.  I was already leading towards that one, so I went with her suggestion.

It was described as "topped with creamy chipotle sauce, salsa fresca and serrano slaw. Served on a warm stone-ground corn tortilla and garnished with a slice of lime."  Since I discovered in my previous visits that I greatly prefer their flour tortillas to the corn tortillas, I substituted the tortilla.  There was no problem in doing so, and they seem pretty used to making substitutions.  I actually somewhat regretted this decision, as it really didn't pair that well with the fish, but I think was probably happier with the substitution.

The fish was a large piece, not at all fishy, very mild, a little flaky.  It was moist and well cooked.  Very decent, particularly for this price point.  The blackening seasoning was the real draw to it, with some great flavor, particularly the salt level.

It was dressed with a generous slather of the same delicious creamy chipotle sauce that I'd enjoyed on my Salsa Verde Pan-Seared Shrimp Taco before, and some salsa fresca, but there wasn't nearly enough of it.  I would have really liked the additional flavor and freshness some more of the tomato based salsa would have brought.  Salsa fresca is also not an option in their salsa bar, so I couldn't just add more on.  I ended up adding some of the other salsas instead.

The serrano slaw was the standout component.  It was fresh and crispy, clearly not prepared hours in advance and just left to sit around.  It had a really nice kick to it.  I liked it a lot more than the plain cabbage or spring greens used in the other tacos.

There was a lime on the side, that seemed like it had already been squeezed, as it had no juice in it, and it was rather mangled.  It seems weird that they would squeeze it for me, and then leave it there like that.  I'm not really sure what was up with that.  The salsa bar also contains limes, so I took a fresh slice from there, and squeezed it on.  The lime went really well with the blackening seasonings.

$3.59 seemed like a fair price.  Free was even better :)
Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill on Urbanspoon
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