For more than 50 years the Stagecoach Inn played host to local luminaries and countless Treasure Valley families alike. The venerable Garden City eatery closed its doors in early 2013—and plans are in the works for the Stagecoach to ride again—but one of its signature dishes has lived on at Kindness, which opened in downtown Boise at the newly refurbished Owyhee Plaza in summer 2014.
Kindness owner and Head Chef Anna Tapia remembers the Stagecoach's legendary bar prawns from her childhood when her mother was a waitress there. "She would bring them home after her shift," Tapia said. With its elegant, high ceilings; sparkling white decor; and menu of unique takes on American classics, Kindness is a long way from the Stagecoach. But the restaurant's Garden City Bar Prawns ($4 a pop), are a taste of the good old days. The giant Puget Sound prawns—"almost as big as you can get," Tapia said—are crusted with panko, sprinkled with sea salt and served with housemade cocktail sauce that's so good you'll want to take some home.
Boise's love affair with finger steaks dates back to a legendary recipe perfected by Milo Bybee at his Torch Lounge in the mid-1950s. Though The Torch is now a gentleman's club, the deep-fried nuggets live on at restaurants across the Treasure Valley, most notably Lindy's Steak House in Garden City.
An order of Lindy's finger steaks—hand-cut from the culotte (sirloin cap), mixed in a flour batter with garlic and pepper, double breaded and deep-fried under pressure—arrives with a hint of pink and just the right balance of crunch and tenderness. According to Lance Criner, son of Lindy's Owner Tom Criner, his dad consciously replicated The Torch's finger steak style. It was a good decision. Finger steaks continue to be one of their top-selling items.
There is no doubt that beauty lies in simplicity. Consider the croqueta: a traditional Iberian tapa composed of a simple roux mixed with bits of potato, cheese, ground meat, shellfish or vegetables. Croquetas can take a variety of shapes—cylinder, pancake ball—but they're always deliciously deep-fried. At Boise's Bar Gernika, the savory snacks are comprised of a thick mixture of chicken, flour, milk and salt that's rolled into balls, coated in egg batter, crusted with panko crumbs and deep fried. The result is one of the most popular snacks in town and easily the most-ordered item at Gernika, which serves between 500 and 1,000 croquetas per day.