Table No. 2 surf and turf

Photo courtesy of Table No. 2.

Protein and Seafood Redux: Unconventional Surf and Turf


If you’re a carnivore or a pescatarian by nature, you have to admit there are few greater combinations than Surf and Turf. Having two proteins on one plate? Delicious in general, but what do you do if you’re looking for a way to mix up this sometimes predictable dish?

That’s when you need to venture out and look for ways to mix it up. Many Metro Detroit restaurants are taking a non-traditional approach to the classic Surf and Turf combination – typically described as a meat protein and a fish dish along with a side or vegetable.

Local artist Dave Chow says he likes to experiment with local restaurants to create his own version of Surf and Turf. Chow is an adjunct professor at the College for Creative Studies as well as a freelance illustrator – which means he’s working at all hours of the day and night as well as knowing which Detroit-area restaurants serve the best meat and seafood.

“What about a place like Mi Pueblo in Southwest Detroit that has great fajitas and a great shrimp taco?” Chow suggested.

Here are some other eateries offering unique takes on Surf and Turf that you may want to try when you venture out for your next protein-packed meal.

Table No. 2: This Detroit newcomer known for its impeccable service and creative selections on Livernois created the Great Lakes Burger Bar Surf and Turf – and turned it into a local favorite. The dish is now one of its most popular at the fine-dining restaurant. The prime rib burger comes with lobster and shrimp scampi on top. And if that’s not enough, they add a McClure’s pickle, sautéed onions and its signature garlic and herb sauce.

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Johnny Noodle King: You never thought you’d see a ramen-inspired restaurant on a Surf and Turf list? That’s because the chefs behind this noodle-centric eatery are culinary tricksters. They also know that most of their broths and related ingredients often contain fish sauce as well as bits of fish or shellfish, making pretty much every bowl a kind of surf and turf. Try the Shoyu, which contains pork belly or shredded pork, nori, menma, scallions, egg, Naruto, bonito and ramen.

Starter’s Bar & Grill: If you want creative combinations of Surf and Turf, then this longtime Detroit favorite is the place to go. They’ll blend pretty much any main protein with seafood that you can imagine. There’s Lamb Chops & Lobster, Steak & Crab Legs or Ribs & Shrimp. If you really want to go for it and are ready to eat, there’s the Seafood Feast with shrimp, lobster tail and crab legs. Another idea is the Land Lover’s Combo, with chicken breasts, a 24-ounce Cowboy Steak as well as a half slab of ribs.

Clawson Steakhouse: Everyone assumes the “surf” part of Surf and Turf has to be the same old fish dishes. This classic steakhouse mixes it up with other combinations, such as its luscious Manhattan scallops. It’s like having two hearty, thick portions to slice through and experience on one decadent plate. Yes, we’re all collectively drooling now.

Town Tavern: This Royal Oak burger joint highlights its focus on comfort food and an extensive selection of wine and craft beverages. You can also create your own kind of surf and turf here. Start with its beloved Tavern Blue Ribbon cheeseburger and sub out the French fries for its delicious lobster mac and cheese. That’s a dish that even the snobbiest of fine-dining experts would have to admit is a masterpiece of flavor.

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