When eating a steak seems too classy but ordering chicken strips feels too downmarket, opt for the finger steak. A point of pride for some Southern Idahoans, these tender strips of sirloin are first battered, then deep-fried, resulting in a crispy-on-the-outside, tender-on-the-inside morsel ready for snacking.
Idaho is not a state known for its culinary diversity: Beef and potatoes make up a large part of a standard Idaho diet. Finger steaks, however, represent a distinctive way of serving steak that has become something of a local specialty. It often arrives on a bed of french fries with a side of thick-cut toast and, of course, a dipping sauce.
Though the dish—rumored to have been served first at Milo’s Torch Lounge in Boise—hasn’t gained popularity outside of the inland Northwest, the finger steak is a familiar concept to many. In the American South, for example, chicken-fried steak is a close cousin. Aside from the preparation of slicing the steak into strips, the only distinct difference between the two dishes is perhaps in the method of frying: Chicken-fried steak is typically shallow-fried in a pan, whereas finger steaks are deep-fried.
While the finger steak may have close cousins, it is served in a uniquely Idaho style, and locals from the Gem State have embraced it as their quintessential appetizer.