Raleigh, N.C. — Thanks to a reader suggestion, the Out & About team took a lunch trip to The Finsky to see what all the hubbub was about. The restaurant is known for its cutlet sandwiches, and the thin strips of meat are a unique option in the area.
We had to look up where the name "Finsky" came from; thanks to the Internet, we found out that it refers to a five dollar bill. Fitting, because the restaurant's cutlet combos are only $5!
The location: Just north of I-440 at the intersection of Atlantic Avenue and New Hope Church Road. The building used to be an old Pizza Hut, but now it's painted pink and easily visible from the road.
The restaurant: After walking into The Finsky we were greeted with a huge printed menu and some eclectic decorations on the walls. Combined with the small arcade room at the back and the small windows at the front of the building, the word "man cave" came to mind.
The food: The sandwiches served up at The Finsky are certainly man-sized portions, too (although that didn't stop us from trying to scarfing it all down). They specialize in cutlets from all kinds of animals that are "thin sliced, hand tenderized, slow marinated, dredged in egg batter, coated in seasoned panko bread crumbs, deep fried, char kissed, served on a home made buttered bun." The cutlets were well-seasoned and flavorful, served on buns or wraps, with seasoned french fries. They also serve hot dogs, wings and burgers.
The meal: We all tried different sandwiches and shared a dessert. Here's what we thought of our meals:
Caitlin: I was actually impressed with my sandwich, the Classic Chicken Finsky (chicken cutlets, bacon, cheddar sauce, lettuce, tomato and mayo). The cutlets weren't greasy at all, and the seasoning and sauce gave it a little kick. I felt like the bun was a little too big, and all that bread detracted a bit from the rest of the sandwich (it was toasted though, which is a plus). The fries were seasoned well and reminded me of Bojangle's. Overall, it was a darn good sandwich that I can't get anywhere else for only $5 (plus tax). The banana pudding was good too, but nothing extraordinary.
Kathy: I was pleasantly surprised by The Finsky. I had passed it a few times and never thought about going in. The color and the size just didn’t scream “hidden gem containing awesome sandwiches” to me. But I was wrong. I opted for the Philly Chicken Wrap. It was full of gooey cheese and came in a fresh, warm pita. It came with fries, but I was too full after eating part of the pita to really dig into those. I thought the portions were good for the price. I also really enjoyed the banana pudding. It was a nice treat at the end of the meal, but definitely not the best pudding I’ve had. My only problem was that you order in the front and when you order is ready they yell your name out to pick it up at the window. But the location of the window – on the far wall not far from the door, means you really don’t hear your name being called unless you are nearby.
Jodi: A "Finsky," we learned, is a thin-sliced, breaded cutlet of something. I went with the Buffalo chicken and got probably a full breast, lightly battered and tossed in a just-right spice. The heat was balanced with blue cheese on the sandwich for that taste of Buffalo.
It was an amazing amount of food for the $5 combo of sandwich, drink and fries. Light eaters could easily split a meal, making "The Finsky" quite the bargain.
Tara: When you walk into Finsky’s you get the feeling that you are at the ball park. There are old timey decorations on the walls and in the back there are arcade games. They have an extensive menu and I had a hard time deciding between their famous cutlets or a Philly cheese. I end up going with the Philly Chicken & Cheese. This sandwich was huge! It comes on a hoagie roll and is jammed packed with sautéed onions, white American cheese, peppers, mushrooms and mayo. The chicken was seasoned perfectly and all the ingredients tasted very fresh. I went with the combo and for around $6.00 I got the sandwich, fries and a drink! This is a great place to come for lunch and get good, fresh food at an amazing value. I can’t wait to go back and try one of their cutlets and maybe check out their arcade games.
Lisa: When reading online reviews focused on “cutlets,” I was optimistically hoping for good French fries, at best, for this vegetarian. Luckily, my cohorts spotted an eggplant sandwich on the giant wall menu board and I was saved from lunchtime starvation. For what it’s worth, the fries are also tasty. I don’t know what kind of margins the folks are running at Finsky’s, but I hope they can make a go of it on volume. This $5 sandwich, fries, AND fountain drink lunch deal is a steal. Anyone who works near Atlantic Avenue and New Hope needs to find themselves with a $5 (and change to leave the crew a tip) around lunchtime soon. And gather up all the loose change you can find and spring for dessert – the banana pudding was tasty and large enough to share!
The service: Our sandwiches were all prepared quickly. After sitting down, remember to listen for the bell, as the kitchen staff just rings it and leaves your food for you to pick up at the window.
The bill: All of the cutlet sandwich combos come with fries and a drink for $5 plus tax, and the portions are pretty large. Hot dogs range from $2-$5, and you can grab a burger combo for under $10. With all the combination options and large amounts of food, we'd say The Finsky offers a good deal.
The verdict: We'll be back to try more of the menu!