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.