The truth about whether finger steaks were invented in Boise is one of those things that can never be proved. But, like the persistent rumor that Boise's underground supports a tangled web of Chinese tunnels, the story lives on. Finger steaks - deep-fried strips of battered meat - are Boise originals.
Some say The Torch Lounge (whose neon sign is, itself, iconic) was the first restaurant to serve them. Some say chef Mylo Bybee invented them before joining The Torch's kitchen staff in the late 1940s. Some say the original Torch owners invented them.
Whatever the truth, Idahoans' affection for the finger steak lives on. When Idaho was deciding on an image to adorn the state quarter, someone submitted a vote for the finger steak written on a cocktail napkin. The peregrine falcon won out.
When it comes to condiments, one local insists that finger steaks must be served with cocktail sauce for the true Boise experience. Outside city limits, this local was shocked to see that pretenders to the finger steak throne have adopted their own traditions. In Payette, finger steaks arrived with a side of honey. Honey?
The Torch's awning once boasted "Home of the finger steak." The lounge has been reborn as a gentleman's club. But diners can still find a good finger steak in town. In the Idaho Statesman's 2012 Best of Treasure Valley competition, readers gave the finger steaks at the Westside Drive-In top marks. Try Westside finger steaks at two Boise locations.
1939 W. State St. and 1113 ParkCenter Blvd.
Anna Webb: 377-6431