Smokin Fins

The Summer Hot Spot We’ve Been Craving

Published online: Jul 06, 2020 Articles, Dining Brady Kay
Viewed 3338 time(s)

With the outside patio now open, dining options in Idaho Falls have never looked more appealing thanks to Smokin Fins across from the Snake River on Memorial Drive. Smokin Fins is a regional restaurant featuring a unique menu that blends ocean-fresh seafood, sushi and house-smoked specialties such as Smoked Prime Rib and Slow Smoked Pulled Pork. 

Since opening its doors in December, the community has been buzzing with excitement about this new hot spot and the enthusiasm doesn’t appear to be slowing down. Smokin Fins continues to be the talk of the town and they’re just getting started. With the roll-up side doors now expanding the seating capacity to get the most out of our beautiful summer weather, both regulars and first-timers are drawn to the patio and the outside fire pit. The canopy sails overhead offer a Cabana type of look and at night the inviting glow welcomes you in for a unique dining experience. There is also plenty of seating inside as well as a full bar, plus a private dining room that can be closed off for special events.   

Big City Dining

With this new fine-dining option, our community can now experience a high-end atmosphere both inside and out that is typically only available in larger cities. General Manager Kenny Wagner is responsible for a lot of the early success, but he’s quick to defer the spotlight to others. He is constantly referring to his team that is making this all possible and is grateful as well as humbled by the warm community welcome.

“We’ve wanted to come to Idaho Falls for a very long time and I’ve always known this city is a destination,” says Wagner. “We couldn’t be happier with the location and to be this close to the river and part of downtown feels awesome. We love being part of the community and truly appreciate the warm welcome. The amount of support we’ve received on a weekly basis is amazing.”

The regional “Fins” family of restaurants consists of multiple branches throughout the neighboring states after originally starting as Lucky Fins in Meridian, Idaho. The Smokin Fins branch came next and in October, Naked Fins opened in Boise making the Idaho Falls Smokin Fins the 10th restaurant for the Fins family. While Naked Fins is more of a “walkup” style restaurant, Smokin Fins with its more modern feel is its high-end counterpart with a menu that has a little more complexity with its dishes and more latitude on how specials are selected compared to its Lucky Fins restaurants. 

Finding Balance

The atmosphere and ambiance will only take you so far, but it’s the quality of food that has helped Smokin Fins evolve as a must-visit for locals and not just those who crave seafood.

“We realize not everyone is going to love seafood so we offer a balanced menu,” adds Wagner. “Plus our menu rotates quite a bit with Chef Wylie Earl adding monthly specials all the time. We want to offer a unique dining experience where you can order sushi, seafood or a steak so everyone gets to have their favorite dish.”

Taste Test

We recently stopped by Smokin Fins to see what the excitement was all about and our dining experience couldn’t have gone better. Known for its sushi, you truly can’t go wrong with whatever you select, but we went with the Mango Tango to get our night started. The Mango Tango sushi includes Tempura shrimp and Surimi lobster-crab salad inside, topped with avocado, buttered panko, mango, Fins’ eel sauce, spicy aioli and a touch of habanero masago. With just the right spicy kick, each bite was delightful.   

Ahi Options

On the lighter side, the sesame crusted Ahi loin over mixed greens with cabbage, red onion, carrot, edamame and pickled hearts of cucumber, tossed with wasabi-soy dressing is a great option. The salad has an unexpected burst of flavor that makes it very enjoyable. For an expanded take on seared Ahi, one of the most popular menu choices is the Seared Scallop and Ahi dish. The jumbo sea scallops and Yellowfin Tuna are rubbed with ancho chili, coffee and cocoa, pan-seared and served over a bed of greens, basil, grape tomatoes, flash fried cauliflower and drizzled with chile oil. It was seared, not cooked, to perfection and it truly looks as good as it tastes. 

“People eat with their eyes so we want to make this dish as colorful as possible,” says Wagner. “It’s all about the presentation.”

Pile It On

Heaven in a skillet is probably the best way to describe the Baja Enchilada Stack that consists of blackened shrimp, bell pepper, and onion layered between house corn tortillas, cheddar jack, poblano cream and bacon ranchero, topped with pico de gallo and served with cilantro lime rice. It offers authentic flavors and works well in the skillet to once again complete the presentation. 

Welcome To Nashville

Also available as an entrée with sides, we opted for the Nashville Chicken sandwich with fries where the chicken is marinated in a secret blend of spices for 48 hours and then served on a toasted brioche bun with spring mix, tomato, red onion and chipotle aioli. Worth noting, the baked goods – including the brioche bun for this sandwich – are made locally at the Mrs. Powell’s Bakery. The partnership has been great for both sides, according to the general manager.   

Specialty Drinks

Even though Wagner thinks of themselves as a, “restaurant first with a bar opportunity,” the specialty drinks offered suggest otherwise. The Smokin Gun is an early local favorite that consists of Bulleit Bourbon, Fins’ house made caramel syrup, orange bitters, orange slice, candied bacon with dried rosemary that actually smokes when lighted, thus the name Smokin Gun. The Bloody Revolution uses Idaho’s Revolution Vodka, Fins’ house-made Bloody Mary mix, Delaware salted rim, cocktail shrimp and bleu cheese stuffed olives. The upgraded version (pictured) is a double pour served in a signature Revolution glass with crab leg, cocktail shrimp and chipotle bacon.

They also have a nice selection of Icetinis that includes the Strawberry Blonde, which is Absolut Vanilla Vodka, shaken with strawberry puree and lemonade and served in a custom made ice mold inside your glass. 

The Jalapeño Cilantro Margarita is another local favorite using Milagro Silver Tequila, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, orange, cilantro, and fresh jalapeños that Wagner hints would be ideal to enjoy on the outside patio. 

Reservations are recommended, but they do keep tables open for those who prefer to walk in. To discover what the excitement is all about, there has never been a better time to experience all that Smokin Fins has to offer. 

Smokin Fins

370 Memorial Drive
Idaho Falls, ID 83402

Sunday - Thursday: 11am - 9pm
Friday - Saturday: 11am - 10pm


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