Tom Criner began his career as a meat cutter in Idaho for Buttrey Foods. After 28 years, he left the grocery store chain and opened a restaurant in Boise, named after his wife, Lindy. His long history as a butcher was easily apparent in his meat-forward menu.
Now, even though Criner has passed away, his traditions, and recipes, live on at Lindy’s. They use nothing but USDA Choice beef for their finger steaks, utilizing the culotte, which is the cap of the top sirloin. It’s tender, lean and marbled, but takes some extra, somewhat labor intensive, cleaning to be usable. “It was a cut that would have been discarded years ago,” explains longtime general manager, Bob Tinker, “but people are onto it now.”
The beef is run once through an old butcher shop cuber, which is a machine that tenderizes by using stainless steel blades to pierce through the connective fibers of the meat.
Where most restaurants use a batter, Lindy’s product is breaded. The strips are rubbed with fresh garlic and then double dipped in a seasoned flour blend, with a dunk in water in between coats. Another way Lindy’s sets their finger steaks apart is in the actual cooking technique. They use a high-pressure deep fat fryer to help seal in the natural moisture of the meat while preventing it from absorbing too much oil.
Lindy’s sells a large number of finger steaks each week. “It’s our signature dish,” Tinker says with a smile. “We’re so proud of our beef, we serve it between medium rare and medium.”
An 8-ounce portion with fries comes with house-made cocktail or barbecue sauce.