Best Fish Tacos (2002)
We remember many years ago when Rubio's arrived in Phoenix. You'd think people had gone nuts. Food writers lauded the simple fish taco served by this California-based chain, swooning over the deep-fried, mayo-sauce-slathered, cheese-drenched fish bits. We just shook our heads. Hadn't these people ever made it over to Rita's, where chef-owner Rita Aramburo has been fashioning authentic fish tacos forever? It's no complicated recipe, but God, it's good. Fresh catfish takes a tumble in the sauté pan with tomato, onion and a dash of seasoning. Warm vegetables release their rich juices, melding with the firm fish and soaking into a grilled corn tortilla. The finishing touch comes from a squeeze of lemon and a dunking in Rita's homemade spicy salsa. No cheese, no mayo, no marriage in the deep fat fryer required.
Rita's fish tacos are the best. Of that, there's no de-bait.