Amid the rise of gastropubs, avocado toast and Instagram influencers, Lindey's abides.

Amid the rise of gastropubs, avocado toast and Instagram influencers, Lindey's abides.

After 35 years in business, a visit to Lindey's in German Village is like slipping into that old sweater you like to wear around the house-it's both comfortable and comforting. But unlike that sweater, Lindey's is not fraying around the edges. The food is as good as it's always been, which is top-notch, and the service is kind and responsive.

Way back in 1981, Lindey's owner Sue Doody set something in motion when she opened the restaurant in the style of Upper East Side New York bistros. Following its success, Doody and her sons, Chris and Rick, went on to make a huge success of the Brio and Bravo restaurants before selling them off (at a most handsome profit, we hear). Chris has since launched the fast-growing, fast-casual Piada Italian Street Food chain, and Rick, who is board chairman of the Bravo-Brio Restaurant Group, continues to look for new opportunities (seeCleveland's Coastal Taco) through his NCR ("next cool restaurant") Ventures LLC. But all those successful offshoots grow from Lindey's roots-and 35 years later, the place is still humming along.

Lindey's is a big restaurant, with three dining rooms downstairs, private rooms upstairs and two outdoor patios (one on the upstairs deck, the other outside on the bricks). It's a pretty place, too, built in red brick in the 19th century, surrounded by German Village's famous brick pavers. Lindey's massive oak front doors give way to a tiny foyer and inner doors that lead to the host stand, a long, dark wooden bar to the left and the first dining room, white tablecloths and all. Up either of two little flights of stairs is a smaller middle room with a handful of tables, and then down again to the largest dining room, which stretches far back to my favorite table, tucked away behind the extended kitchen wall. Daily and nightly the place is busy, with the front room and bar area seeing most of the action. On any given night, you are likely to find city leaders-corporate, political and otherwise-hobnobbing at the bar or visiting from table to table. Like the rest of us, they come for the just-right cocktails, perhaps a glass or bottle from the accommodating wine list and the reliable menu of favorites.

Lindey's knows what it does well and sticks to it, and the regulars wouldn't have it any other way. At lunch and dinner you can rely on the house salad ($7), with sliced grape tomatoes, hearts of palm and impeccable greens in a mild Champagne vinaigrette. The thing comes to life with just a few crumbles of Gorgonzola cheese-I hope they never take it off the menu.

I have the same hope for several dishes here, like the crab cake, which is almost nothing but sweet blue crab. At $14, it's worth every penny, smartly served with a garlicky mustard sauce, sautéed spinach and a sprinkling of pickled corn relish. Another favorite is linguine with littleneck clams and shrimp ($18)-like the classic Italian preparation with clam broth, garlic, a bit of butter and white wine, but here served also with bacon and tomatoes. It's a lovely, hearty plate of food.

Lobster bisque ($5–$8) is a mainstay, too-and people rave about the frothy mixture with sherry and bits of shrimp. To me, this is just a creamy, satisfying seafood soup, not really lobster bisque because it's missing that sharp lobster flavor and brick-red color that comes from the shell of the animal. Tournedos of beef ($16.50 at lunch, $33 at dinner) is Lindey's at its old-school best. Served with an herby bearnaise, buttery, chive-enhanced mashed potatoes, asparagus (in more butter) and crispy onion straws, it's almost everything I love about classic steakhouse fare on one plate.

Although Italians have been grilling greens to good effect forever, it's only been a few years since we've seen grilled Caesar salad on local menus. It turns out that grilled Caesar is one of those rare improvements on a classic. Lindey's Caesar ($8) uses heads of little gem lettuce and puts a slight char on them. Served with an anchovy-sharpened oil and vinegar dressing and topped with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, this is another excellent salad.

Cedar plank salmon ($26) is nothing new, but when done judiciously, as it is here, the salmon is lightly smoked but remains soft and moist. The good accompaniments are potato rosti (a crispy, Swiss potato cake) and a composed salad with beets, wilted spinach and tomatoes in a not-sweet strawberry vinaigrette.

For dessert? A small revolution might erupt if Lindey's tried to remove the Post Mortem ($8) from the menu. Surely meant for sharing (though I could dispatch one on my own with no regrets), the deep, dark brownie topped with coffee ice cream and a Kahlua-spiked hot fudge sauce is sinfully sweet and delicious. There are also devotees of the Key lime pie ($8) and it's no wonder-this is Key lime pie as it was intended: tart, with a buttery graham cracker crust.

I could go on and on (this is a big menu), but the bottom line is that Lindey's gets it right. Might it be faulted for not changing the menu more with the seasons? Yes. Faulted for not taking full advantage of great local foodstuffs to be had? Yes. Faulted even for occasionally overwrought preparations-like the unnecessary addition of chipotle mayo and pickled mushrooms to an otherwise good plate of raw beef carpaccio? Certainly. But all of that is of no matter to the crowds who fill this place, who count on things being as they've always been.

There was a time when Sue Doody was in the dining room at almost every lunch and dinner-greeting friends here, conferring blessings there, offering suggestions. While she is seen less often in the dining room these days, servers are still uniformly gracious and attentive-as if mother was watching. Doody is one smart restaurateur: She created a place and a style that has resisted the ravages of time, and as a result, Lindey's is a Columbus classic.