What is the Appeal of Surf and Turf?

Land and sea come together in one meal – the surf and turf. For decades, many have enjoyed this classic combination of steak and seafood. It makes you wonder what makes eating these two together so appealing. Learn everything you need to know about surf and turf here, so you can see why this popular dish remains a staple in many restaurants today.

What’s Surf & Turf?

Simply adding seafood to your steak turns it into a surf and turf dish. There is no set rule about having certain seafood components or specific cuts of steak for surf and turf.

For the seafood element of surf and turf, many have used either one of the following:

  • Lobster (either the tail or whole body)
  • Prawns
  • Crab
  • Shrimp
  • Squid
  • Scallops

As for the steak cut, here are a few steak cuts used in surf and turf that can bring varying flavours and tenderness:

  • Filet mignon: A more tender cut of beef that’s flavourful.
  • Ribeye steak: A cut of beef that’s simply flavorful and juicy.
  • Sirloin steak: A cut of beef that is lean and flavorful.
  • Strip steak: A cut of beef that is tender and juicy.

Typically, you can find surf and turf dishes in many steakhouses in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia. If you want to try out surf and turf in Australia, you should be familiar with its alternative name before ordering it – reef and beef.

The History of Surf & Turf

The history behind surf and turf is quite interesting. The classic combination of seafood and steak has been enjoyed by many worldwide for centuries. Yet, at what point did they become popular as a luxurious dinner combination? Let’s begin in late 19th century America. Back then, show restaurants known as ‘lobster palaces’ served large portions of lobster and steak that became popular among the newly wealthy.

Unfortunately, enjoying this delicious land and sea dish fell out of fashion by the 1920s. However, it soon found a revival in popularity in the early 1960s. What sparked its renewed interest? When surf and turf were featured in 1962 at the Eye of the Needle, a revolving restaurant atop the Space Needle in Seattle, Washington.

Ultimately, it culminated in surf and turf symbolizing middle-class “Continental cuisine” of the 1960s and 1970s, with (frozen) lobster and steak as replacements for the middle class. Since steak and lobster have garnered more value, surf and turf, have become a staple of any high-end restaurant.

The Flavourful Appeal of Surf & Turf

Steak and seafood might seem like an unlikely pair at first glance. Yet, these two different types of proteins can create a unique flavour that is both savoury and satisfying. Steak gives this popular dish a savoury, rich flavour, while the seafood adds a light, refreshing taste.

Beyond flavour and texture, this combination is also a great way to add various nutrients to a meal. Steak is a great source of protein and iron, while seafood is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. The combination of steak and seafood provides various important nutrients essential for a balanced diet.

Popular Surf & Turf Combinations

As mentioned above, people can enjoy surf and turf in various ways. Again, depending on the restaurant or region, the combination of steak and seafood can be considered unique surf and turf dishes. In the United States, surf and turf are often served with a steak and a seafood element, such as lobster or shrimp. Meanwhile, in Europe, many enjoy surf and turf served with a steak and a type of fish, such as salmon or cod. And interestingly enough, in Japan, surf and turf are often served with steak and shellfish, such as shrimp or scallops.

Whether looking for a classic dish to serve at a dinner party or a satisfying meal for two at a restaurant, surf and turf is a great meal that you can enjoy. The combination of steak and seafood creates a unique flavour that is both savoury and satisfying. By combining these two proteins, they’re appealing to many by providing a taste like no other that’s enjoyable. So, if you’re looking for a memorable and satisfying meal, try surf and turf!