Words & Deeds

Website picks ‘the 25 essential restaurants in Boise.’ The article might eat at you.

Grab a bottle of Pepto. And a stiff cocktail.

Now you’re ready to digest “The 25 Essential Restaurants in Boise,” a lofty new listicle from food website Eater.

A few jaw-dropping omissions and eyebrow-raising picks might upset more than your stomach.

The word “essential” means “totally necessary.” Super-important. So Boise food culture and history take precedence over the latest shiny thing to open Downtown, right?

Not at Eater.

Having penned a few flawed Boise catch-all lists myself, I get it: Every troll has a screeching opinion about what belongs and what doesn’t.

And lots of deserving Boise restaurants did make the Eater list.

Still, where’s the beef? How did upscale Chandlers Steakhouse, recently named the sixth most romantic restaurant in the nation, get ostracized? Perhaps there wasn’t enough space for Chandlers’ award-winning wine list after choosing corporate fine-dining destination Trillium at The Grove Hotel. (Go get that $28 shrimp mac ‘n’ cheese at Trillium, though. Good stuff.)

Every Boisean knows about Goldy’s Breakfast Bistro. It’s been a Downtown institution for 20 years. The talking heads on ESPN even gave the place a shout-out on national TV in 2018.

Eater be like, “Sorry, never heard of it! Too busy hyping new sandwich shops and ice cream parlors!”

Old-school Idahoans might argue for the late-night breakfast inclusion of Merritt’s, “Home of the Scones,” too. Nope.

Thankfully, Idaho’s iconic finger steaks do get mentioned — barely — in a caption for Bittercreek Alehouse. (Eater also says that Bittercreek’s brand-new sister establishment, Diablo & Sons — a cool cocktail lounge next door — is an essential Boise restaurant.)

Bittercreek, an outstanding taphouse, serves excellent brewpub cuisine. But longstanding Westside Drive In would have been the obvious way to plug our beloved finger steaks. Didn’t chef Lou Aaron travel to a national food festival in 2017, as our state representative, to share Idaho’s special dish? Westside has been featured on Food Network and, more recently, Travel Channel, where diners fawned over the Ice Cream Potato and weekly prime-rib special.

Westside? Welcome to Eater’s bad side. No soup for you!

At least Boise Fry Co. got a nod. That’s a nice proletariat touch. After all, Idaho is famous for its taters. But forgetting to highlight BFC’s decadent Bourgeois Fries, which are cooked in duck fat and garnished with truffle salt? Borderline criminal.

Listicles are made to be massacred. It’s fun. Besides, any press is good press for the growing dining scene in Boise. (And, um, Eagle. Caci Wood-Fired Sicilian Grill must be surprised to be on the Boise list.) Proclaiming “The 25 Essential Boise Restaurants” is a tough cookie, no matter how it’s crumbled.

Still, it’s depressing when you consider that an Idaho ski town with a population of 1,500 has more than half as many “essential” restaurants as Boise.

Yep, Eater published “The 13 Essential Sun Valley Restaurants” on the same day as the Boise list. Have at it, Hailey hellions.

Online: eater.com.

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Michael Deeds is an entertainment reporter and columnist at the Idaho Statesman, where he also has been a sportswriter, entertainment editor and features editor. Deeds co-hosts “The Other Studio,” a one-hour music show, at 8 p.m. Sundays on 94.9 FM The River.