Lindy's Steak House 

12249 W. Chinden, 208-376-4258; Bar: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.; Dining Room: Mon.-Sat. 5-10 p.m., Sun. closed

Lindy's Steak House, owned by Tom Criner, seems to be two worlds in one. On one side is the "dining" area, open at five for dinner, and on the other, a bar complete with pool tables, darts and shuffleboard.

I went there for lunch with two of my buddies. The restaurant side was closed, so we sat in the bar. We picked out a table at the far side, and immediately, our server Teri was on her toes. She was at our table with lunch menus within seconds, though I salivated over the dinner menu, which has everything from cocktail shrimp to Parmesan-encrusted halibut to my favorite: prime rib. Though all of that looked good, I appreciated the lunch menu's affordability, because until I can get a leprechaun to tell me where his damn gold is, or I win the lottery, I only get prime rib on special occasions.

Nonetheless, the lunch menu gave me enough choices. I saw I could eat well for $7.50, and I'm OK with that. And I did ask—lunch is available all day and night.

Lindy's is famous for their finger steaks—and I do like good finger steaks—but on this fine Tuesday afternoon, I was in the mood for something else. The idea of eating prime rib was still gnawing at me. I considered some other finger foods like chicken strips or a quesadilla, but Lindy's also offers burgers and hot or cold sandwiches. I was in a pickle, or at least wanted one. On the verge of gnawing on my arm, and not in the most decisive mood, I asked Teri what she liked. She recommended one of the daily specials, an open-faced chicken cordon bleu sandwich, a hot prime rib sandwich with Swiss cheese and sauteed mushrooms ($7.95), or the regular prime rib dip.

Teri definitely hit a button. Next best thing to prime rib is a prime rib sandwich, right? Not being the biggest fan of mushrooms or any fungus among us, I did not opt for the special and, being the difficult customer I am, mixed up the two prime rib sandwich offerings: I ordered a prime rib dip with Swiss, no mushrooms, additional creamy horseradish and a side of fries ($7.50, 50 cents extra for cheese). Though I dislike mushrooms, I do love horseradish and rather enjoy sweating profusely while eating.

In the meantime, Teri refilled my coffee and one friend's soda. The coffee was disappearing pretty fast. My other friend claimed an especially refined palate for coffee and felt it his duty to do a little quality control on my cup. He approved.

My sandwich was out in just a few minutes, and Teri's attention to detail was impressive. I commented on her abilities and was told that she's been at it for 14 years. In this case, practice makes perfect. From one server to another: good on ya, Teri.

The sandwich was good. Not quite as good as the service, but still really good. The meat was more like a beef roast than a prime rib, but I would pay eight dollars any day of the week for that sandwich. And the fries were great. They were hot, crisp and beautifully seasoned. Though I arrived at Lindy's hungrier than a bear after winter, I was feeling pretty full after the first half of the sandwich. I already have got enough extra pounds around my edges, so I slid the other half over to my coffee-picky friend, who gladly inhaled it. He approved.

One particularly cool thing about Lindy's is that smoking is allowed in the bar. As a smoker, I'm fond of the idea of having a beer, a nice slab of prime rib with horseradish and mashed potatoes, a smoke, another beer and a rousing round of pool all in the same place.

—Dan McMahon once heard that sweating over a meal is a compliment to the cook.

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