Steak and lobster are two high class foods, so combining them on one plate has to be extra classy, right? Well, that might be a matter of opinion — but surf and turf, as the combination is popularly known, is actually a delicious dish. Even though you don’t encounter it on menus all that often any more, here are the 25 restaurants serving the best variations on it in America.
Surf and turf is one of those dishes that sadly doesn’t get much in the way of respect nowadays. One of the hallmarks of middlebrow “Continental cuisine” in vogue in the 1960s and 70s, a plate of pallid steak and tough defrosted lobster graced the menu at restaurants ranging from fine-dining establishments to local diners in an effort to appeal to those looking to give the impression of being classy (the word “ersatz” has been bandied about quite a bit when referring to the dish). But that era is over, and today the chefs who include this legendary dish on their menus are finally treating it with the respect it deserves.
So what, exactly, is surf and turf? Technically, it’s any main course that pairs seafood with meat, but in just about everyone’s opinion it’s steak, usually filet mignon, on a plate with lobster. Shrimp or scallops sometimes replace lobster in order to lower the ticket price, and sometimes it’s crab. For today’s ranking, we looked for surf and turfs that toe the line between traditional and modern, but never step over the line of being instantly recognizable as the classic combo. These are all platters of perfectly-cooked steak and high-quality seafood, generally lobster (any chef can cook up a steak and toss a few shrimp on top; that’s neither exciting nor noteworthy). These are the surfs and turfs served at some of the best steakhouses in America, as well as the best spots for fresh seafood.
We live in an era when every classic dish seems ripe for innovation, and surf and turf is no exception. Today you’ll find surf and turf burgers at plenty of restaurants (a burger patty topped with lobster), as well as dishes including braised beef with shrimp paste and fusilli with braised octopus with bone marrow being called surf and turf, or more appropriately “surf and turf.” The following dishes, as mentioned, are all instantly recognizable as surf and turf. Some are listed that way on the menu, some are ordered by supplementing your steak with shellfish, and one is an off-menu specialty, but when the platter is placed in front of you and you dig in, it’s always evident that you’re eating one of the best plates of surf and turf in America, and that you’re absolutely getting your money’s worth.