Thursday, March 20, 2014

New Menu Items at Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill

Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill
25482 Marguerite Parkway
Mission Viejo, CA 92692

Fish seems to be everywhere these days. Looking through the coupons we receive in the mail, it seems like almost all fast food and casual places are really pushing the fish items on their menus. Even the supermarkets feature fish on the front pages of their ads. Of course this happens every year during Lent. The time of year when an estimated 78 million Catholics forgo meat on Fridays, and instead turn to seafood. This has to be a big time of year for restaurants that are always about seafood. So it makes sense that fish focused restaurants roll out new or special items to entice diners during their busiest time of  the year. We were recently invited to try some new items at one of our favorite fast casual seafood restaurants, Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill.

I guess it has been a long time since we had been to Rubio's. Before we moved at the first of the year, we were regulars at the Rubio's by our old place. Now that we are all settled into our new digs, we have been busy exploring the restaurants in our new area. It's now time to turn our attention back to some of our old favorites, like Rubio's.

Things have changed a little at Rubio's since our last visit. Food doesn't come on paper plates anymore, and they have real utensils. Not only is this classing up the joint, but it's also all part of Rubio's commitment to be socially responsible. Whether it is using sustainable seafood, printing menus on recycled paper, or becoming more involved in the community, Rubio's really wants to improve the quality of life in the communities that they serve, as well as provide quality food. By getting rid of the paper plates, they are helping keep the landfills clear. They are also focused on bringing us high quality seafood, like Regal Springs tilapia.

Regal Springs is a company based in Indonesia that wants to produce the best tasting tilapia in the world, but wants to do it in a responsible way. These tilapia are grown in deep reservoirs in Mexico, Honduras, and Indonesia. The fish are only fed the highest quality of food, and the water is monitored to insure that it is free of chemicals and contaminants at every stage of the operation. Rubio's had introduced  the Regal Springs Tilapia Taco earlier, and it was such a hit, they decided they had to use this special tilapia in other menu items. So Rubio's co-founder, Ralph Rubio, and his culinary team got to work on creating two new dishes utilizing the tilapia. Let's see what we have been missing at our local Rubio's of late.

All this build up about the tilapia, and we start off with the Guacamole and Chips ($1). In the five years that Katie and I have been together, I have not known her to miss out on ordering guacamole at Rubio's. Their guacamole is very natural, not overly seasoned, and goes great over the tortilla chips that are prepared fresh daily. I always manage to steal a little guacamole for my tacos, but that's my secret.

See I told you we would eventually get to the tilapia portion of this post. I'm not much into salads, and this would be Katie's first time having a salad at Rubio's, but it will not be her last after having this Chipotle Orange Salad ($7.79). This salad combined spring and butter lettuce, fire roasted corn, avocado, black beans, mandarin oranges, your choice of grilled or blackened Regal Springs tilapia, and finished with a chipotle orange vinaigrette. Katie really liked the contrasts in this fresh salad. She went with the blackened tilapia here, which went nicely with the cool citrus dressing. The tilapia was prepared well, very tender, and they were very generous with the amount used in this salad. Katie also wanted me to mention that she enjoyed the numerous layers of textures in this as well. Even though I am not much of a salad guy, I could not resist poking my fork in her bowl to have a few bites of this salad.

I believe that burritos are definitely one of the hardest foods to photograph well. They almost always look the same, and they never look as good as they taste. This Regal Springs Tilapia Burrito ($7.69) definitely tasted good. I was a little unsure that this burrito would fill me up, but it was jam packed with guacamole, Mexican rice, fire roasted corn, cilantro, onion, red and green cabbage, a creamy chipotle sauce, and of course Regal Springs tilapia. With so many ingredients used in this, I was a little afraid that the tilapia would get lost here, but it definitely made its presence known. I lamented the fact that I did not get the tilapia blackened, but the Diablo Salsa, from Rubio's great salsa bar, provided more than enough heat to satisfy any heat seeker.

Since we were here, we also had to try the item that got Rubio's creative juices going with their tilapia obsession, the Regal Springs Tilapia Two Taco Plate ($7.69). I thought I was going to miss the crunch of the Original Fish Taco, but that was not the case here. The great flavor of this taco was guaranteed with the inclusion of a creamy chipotle sauce, salsa fresca, a Serrano slaw, and of course the Regal Springs tilapia. The grilled fish option provided a nice smokiness to the fish, that was not as evident in the burrito. I was a little sad that I had to share the other taco with Katie, as I could have made quick work of both of these tacos.

After this little nudge to come back to Rubio's, I am sure we will become regulars at our new location in no time. I definitely noticed that this location did a booming carry out business during our 7PM visit. I also noticed that the employees here made the rounds to all the customers in the dining room, asking if we needed anything, and if everything was all right. Kind of made you feel like you were eating at a full service restaurant, while not paying for it. At this time of year, when everyone is looking for seafood, it's good to know that Rubio's is doing things the right way, and making food that tastes great too.

We would like to thank everyone at our local Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill for making us feel so welcome, and providing us with a great meal. We would also like to thank the fantastic Danielle Solich for this great opportunity to experience these new menu items at Rubio's.

For more information about Rubio's, including your nearest location, click here:

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