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Ah Rubio's... The Sacramento Marconi location is one link in a chain of Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill restaurants, scattered over California, and much of the west.  Rubio's website claims that the founder of ther chain got the recipe for their fish tacos from a street vendor in San Felipe, Mexico, but Rubio's seems to have branched out from selling fish tacos exclusively.  


Photo: Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill is located at the east end of a 1960's vintage shopping center, and offers lots of free parking and outdoor dining.  But on this evening, Thursday, March 8, 2012, nobody is dining outside, as the temperature was in the low 40's when this photo was taken.


Photo:  You walk up to the order counter, and the lighted menu displays all that Rubio's has to offer.  We're peeking into the kitchen, at the center rear of the photo.  You make your menu selection, pay for it, and in return, you receive a number.  Then, you pick a table, and your order will be brought to you by one of the friendly staff members.

Oddly enough, Rubio's offers a full-service salsa bar, with almost every variety of delicious salsa that you could imagine.  The salsa is fresh, it's delicious, and it's made in-house.  When you're dining at Rubio's, you're entitled to unlimited amounts of salsa, as it's an all-you-can-eat affair.  Each variety of salsa has a large spoon, so all you have to do is to pick your favorite type of salsa, grab a spoon, and scoop your salsa into a small plastic container, and take it back to your table to enjoy.  For take home convenience, snap-down plastic lids are provided.  All is well at the salsa bar, except for one, overlooked detail... where are the tortilla chips?  Don't salsa bars always include tortilla chips?

Not at Rubio's... Sure, there are tortilla chips available, but you have to go up to the order counter, ask the counter girl for the chips - pray that she's not busy, or that there's not a line - and she'll hand you a small bag of cold, stale chips, in a brown bag, with the flap stapled!  What the heck?  


Photo:  If you've ever enjoyed time at a beach resort in Baja California, you're sure to remember palapas, and Rubio's has indoor palapas to lend a Baja-beach theme to the dining room.  The counter gal dressed in red, Amber, took our order and was very friendly.


Photo:  My friend, co-worker, and frequent dining companion wasn't feeling like having her photo taken, so I asked her to turn the tables, and take a photo of me, holding my two salmon taco dinner.  The salsa bar, with the non-existent tortilla chips, can be seen in the left rear of the photo.


Photo:  On this Thursday evening, I decided to try something different, so I ordered the Grilled Chile-Lime Wild Salmon 2-taco plate dinner, which included pinto beans and rice.  The dinner packed in only 700 calories, so if you're on a diet, this is a good way to go.  The food was very good, and the presentation was gorgeous, but the portions of everything was on the small side, and I feel the price of admission, pegged at $8.29, was a bit high. That being said, the dinner was delicious, the ingredients were fresh, and I left almost-full, almost-satisfied, but with a smile on my face.  Ditto for my dining companion, Teri.

OK, the salmon tacos were delicious, the garnish was fresh, and the beans and rice, although on the small side, were quite good.  Yes, the food was fresh, and the salsa was good, but both Teri and I thought the price of admission was a bit steep, compared to... say... Don Q's.... and we didn't the cold chips that we had to ask for, and the meal was made before our eyes.  We also thought the service was a bit slow... we only get 30 minutes for lunch, so the 10-minute delay that it took to prepare our order grated on Teri and I a bit.  So... Ah Rubio's... I'm sure we'll see you another time... maybe?

Rubio's Fresh Mexican Grill
2820 Marconi Lane
Sacramento, CA 95821
916 483-6643

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