Surf and Turf: The History Behind This Famous Food Pairing

Ruth’s Chris Steak House, with multiple restaurants throughout the Southeast, proudly features the finest USDA Prime custom-aged beef alongside a variety of fresh seafood options. While you have probably heard the term “surf and turf” used to describe a plate that combines these two featured items – fresh seafood and steak – you may not know the origins of this now famous food pairing.

How was the steak and seafood combo first created? Has it changed over the years? Read on if you’re interested in learning more about the history of surf and turf, then make a reservation at your nearest Ruth’s Chris Steak House restaurant. We’ve got you covered with a variety of surf and turf options and much more!

Surf and Turf: A Dish Created on the Coast

Although there is some debate among food historians and critics as to whether the surf and turf pairing originated on the East or West Coast of the United States, there is agreement that the ocean played a key role. Whether the Atlantic or Pacific, seafood was plentiful on both coasts, and restaurants began pairing it with steak, another meal time delicacy, during the 1960s.

Filet mignon and lobster are often cited as the classic – or original – surf and turf combination.

Proponents of a West Coast origination claim the restaurant that sits atop the Seattle Space Needle to be the original home of surf and turf. The dish was first served there in 1962 during the World’s Fair.

Those who believe surf and turf hails from the East Coast often refer to an advertisement that ran in The Lowell Sun, a Lowell, Massachusetts, newspaper, in January 1966. The ad advertised a Champagne Surf ‘N Turf Dinner featuring filet mignon and baked stuffed Alaskan Crab Legs. It was the first time steak and seafood were advertised together as surf and turf.

Steak and Seafood Combinations That Qualify as Surf and Turf

Steak and seafood together on a plate are now commonly referred to as surf and turf, and this item is featured on the Ruth’s Chris Steak House menu. For example, our Tournedos and Shrimp features two 4 oz. medallions of our filet with a large shrimp. Diners can also add shrimp, lobster tail or the “Oscar” complement to any entrée to create a delicious custom surf and turf meal.

Filet and a lobster tail is the most common surf and turf duo, but there are many other variations. For those who are looking for something a little different, Ruth’s Chris recommends trying a New York Strip with Shrimp or a Ribeye Oscar, served with lump crabmeat, asparagus and Bearnaise Sauce.

Regardless of the exact pairing, surf and turf combinations are intended to give diners who have a taste for both seafood and steak the best of both worlds.

Enjoy Surf and Turf Fine Dining at Ruth’s Chris

At Ruth’s Chris Steak House, you will find several seafood items among our entrée complements that you can add to any specialty cut or signature steak. This is our way of giving you a taste of this classic combination made with signature Ruth’s Chris USDA Prime beef and fresh seafood. Make a reservation today to enjoy surf and turf at Ruth’s Chris Steak House.