May 1, 2022

The History of Surf and Turf

It’s easy to call something a classic, but when a dish is as ubiquitous and widespread as Surf and Turf, how could it not be a classic? What helps its ubiquity and popularity is that it technically can be a combination of any red meat and seafood, though lobster and steak are the most popular. That means wherever you go, you can potentially order a drastically different Surf and Turf from the last. Even when you’re getting the common lobster and steak combination, both can be prepared in so many different ways that there’s little to no chance that our Surf and Turf tastes like anyone else’s.

You can find Surf and Turf all around the world, from casual restaurants to formal dining establishments. This is because of how varied this dish can be. For a local restaurant where you can try it for yourself, come to Grico’s Classic Cuisine & Catering.

Where Does the Name Come From?

Surf and Turf has a memorable name, to say the least. It’s simple and easy to remember, but we don’t know for sure why it’s called “Surf and Turf”. The best guess has to do with when the name first started appearing on both the East and West Coasts of the United States in 1939. The weird thing was, that the name wasn’t referring to food. It was actually for just about anything beach-related, from bathing suits, to beach bags, to sunbathing mats. It wasn’t until the 1960s that it started being used for food.

Surf and Turf is believed to have first been used as the name for a dish on the beaches of one of the U.S.’s coasts, so maybe people used what was an age-old term for beach items as the name for this long-standing menu item.

History of Surf and Turf

During the 1960s when the dish first appeared and grew in popularity, many restaurants had the bright idea to pair two meaty delicacies together. Lobster and steak was the most popular pairing and is possibly why it’s still so popular today.

East Coast vs. West Coast

Where in the U.S. does the recipe originate from? As said before, historians disagree on which coast Surf and Turf is from. There is evidence for either one. Those in favor of the idea that it originates from the East Coast cite an advertisement from 1966. In January of that year, a newspaper in Lowell, Massachusetts, The Lowell Sun, ran an advertisement for a Champagne Surf ‘N Turf dinner. This recipe did have filet mignon, but rather than lobster, advertised Alaskan Crab legs instead.

There is possibly a stronger claim for the West Coast because of a restaurant that sits atop the Seattle Space Needle, claiming to be the original home of Surf and Turf. The restaurant says they first served it in 1962, four years before the advertisement in The Lowell Sun. In fact, they say they served it during the 1962 World’s Fair.

What keeps the debate going is the lack of primary sources. Unlike The Lowell Sun advertisement, there aren’t credible enough sources to go. Because of this, the debate still rages on.

Have Some Lobster and Filet Mignon at Grico’s

Our recipe sticks close to the original, using prime steak in a scrumptious filet mignon, paired with juicy lobster. You have a whole lobster for your meal, or just half if you prefer. This meal is available for dinner, and it’ll leave any meat-lover absolutely satisfied. Make a reservation online or call 570-690-3339.