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Yesterday I attended a tasting event at Rubio’s in Torrey Highlands, where two new menu items were introduced to food bloggers/writers from the San Diego area. Founder Ralph Rubio was on hand to demo and answer questions.

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The first was the Smokey Red Chile Shrimp Taco. It has three beer-battered shrimp in a corn tortilla, topped with a smoky red chili sauce, Rubio’s white sauce, shredded cabbage, a chopped cilantro/onion mix, and lime garnish. Price: $3.79 for one, $7.69 for a two-taco platter with beans and chips.

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I’m a fan of just about anything beer battered, and this didn’t disappoint. The red chili sauce was a bit sweet on its own, but with the crispy shrimp and a shot of lime, it was very good, smoky, with a bit of warmth from the red jalapeños and richness from the ancho and guajillo. It was perfectly messy to eat, which I didn’t mind a bit.

Our second taste was the Salsa Verde Pan-Seared Shrimp Taco. Served in a flour tortilla (which was grilled golden on one side), it contained four shrimp, cilantro/onions, cabbage, a three-cheese blend, avocado slices, and lime garnish. The salsa verde is made with tomatillo, poblanos, cilantro, basil, and tarragon. Price: $3.99 for one, $7.99 for the two-taco platter.

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This one was good, too. The shrimp was nicely pan-seared, and the herbaceous salsa complemented it well. I didn’t really need the cheese, but it didn’t detract.The avocado added the necessary richness, and some acid from the lime highlighted the sweetness of the shrimp. I also liked the crisp flour tortilla, which provided some good texture and chew.

It’s easy to like free food, especially when shrimp is involved. But, would I pay full price for either of them? Yes, I would (unless it was Taco Tuesday). I thought both were nicely done, tasty, you get a decent serving of shrimp and veggies, and the price point is good, especially for the plates.

Rubio’s new shrimp tacos will debut Tuesday, February 21, and will be permanent menu items.

Rubio’s

Various locations and hours.

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