By Eric Newman
From the outside, Rubicon Deli looks much like your run-of-the-mill sandwich shop, but one step inside the new location in the Scottsdale Airpark, and customers can see why the concept has continued to expand since its inception in California in 1994.
Rubicon, a San Diego-based fast-casual restaurant, serves a variety of American comfort foods: soups, sandwiches, salads, pasta and more. Hungry customers can walk into the stylish and clean restaurant, sit at the plentiful indoor or outdoor tables, and enjoy a fairly-priced meal in a pleasant atmosphere.
Rubicon focuses primarily on its sandwiches, putting their six different bread options front-and-center, each with its own charm and level of heartiness or crunch. The company proclaims on its website: “We’ve put our signature loaves of freshly baked and uniquely flavored breads at the forefront, in which they’ve ultimately become the defining image of our brand.”
With traditional sandwiches like a French dip with tempura onions and au jus – called The Dipper Dapper – and a classic salami and ham sandwich with all the fixings (The Stallion), a sandwich lover can feel right at home with well-executed standard bites.
However, unlike some traditional sandwich shops, there are plenty of uncommon blends to try, each with its own particular charm.
Unique selections with interesting blends of ingredients include The Super Mario, a grilled garlic and herb chicken sandwich with prosciutto, asiago cheese, an incredible roasted red pepper tapenade, wild arugula and balsamic glaze; and The Hot Mess with charred shiitake mushrooms, cheddar, Jack and Swiss cheeses, sun-dried tomato, tempura onion, wild arugula and chipotle mayo.
Diners can order either a half or full-size sandwich, priced at around $7 to $9 and $11 to $14, respectively, but do not let the labels distract you – even the half sandwich, paired with a bag of chips and a small cookie, is the size of most meals and can leave customers with enough to roll up at the pack-your-own-sandwich station and take home to put in the refrigerator.
For a small extra charge, diners can substitute the potato chips, cooked in-house, for pesto pasta, potato salad, kale chips, a large dill pickle or small green salad.
Though the deli focuses on its sandwiches, there are plenty of delicious salad options, such as The Cowboy – chipotle chicken, cotija, avocado, black beans, hominy, cherry tomato, tortilla strips, baby romaine, cilantro lime dressing and chipotle crème, and the Borderline Cobb with crispy Buffalo chicken, thick-cut bacon crumbles, Danish blue cheese, avocado, pico de gallo, baby romaine and cilantro jalapeño ranch.
Each salad is massive as well, and for no more than $12 dollars, could easily be split between two hungry customers.
Though there are merely two soup options – tomato basil bisque and jalapeño corn chowder – both are served with a hearty cheese roll, and each has its own charm. The bowls are a perfect size to either have as a quick snack on their own or as an appetizer in a large, fully satisfying meal.
There are a variety of different interesting drink options on the menu: San Pellegrino sparkling water, a full lemonade and tea bar with different flavors, and a Stubborn Soda machine filled with drinks containing cane sugar and fewer processed ingredients than normal soda. The deli also serves bottles of local beer, including Arizona classics like SanTan Brewing Company’s Devil’s Ale and Huss Brewing Company’s Scottsdale Blonde.
Though each sandwich comes with a small chocolate chip cookie, eaters with a sweet tooth can buy more small cookies filled with different frostings, or choose from a selection of larger cookies.
For more information or to view a menu and order online, visit rubicondeli.com.