Why choose just one? Here are a couple of places to get something from land and something from the sea.
Double D Steak & Seafood
320 Main St., Fortuna
Tuesday through Thursday | 5 - 9 pm
Friday and Saturday | 5 - 10 pm
Every town has an old, by-gone restaurant that makes locals misty and hungry recalling it. In Fortuna, that place is the un-fussy, family-run steak and pasta joint Parlato's. But right there on its hallowed grounds, as if conjured by the town's collective longing, has sprung Double D Steak & Seafood, honoring that very gastro-nostalgia down to its redwood plank bar and old-school menu.
It's part cowboy (this isn't Portland and the antler chandelier is not ironic) and part Italian, so show up hungry. Entrees come, according to tradition, with a loaf of fresh-baked country bread, antipasto, soup or salad, a side of saucy ravioli and baked potato or thick steak fries (swap for the house mac and cheese if you think you've got room).
The surf and turf is the classic rib eye and broiled lobster tail of your dreams ($28 steak, $14 lobster) — there's no reason you shouldn't stay on theme and get a Double D Dirty Martini to go with it ($8). For a slightly different take, there's the Steak Oscar, tenderloin crowned with a lemon caper sauce and a generous crowning of crabmeat ($32). If you're sharing plates with someone, try to pressure him or her into the Chicken Wellington special, baked in a buttery pastry crust with spinach, mushrooms and a creamy blend of cheeses ($25). It is the one time someone may envy a fellow diner's chicken in a steak house.
Salt Fish House
761 Eighth St., Arcata
Tuesday through Sunday | 4 - 10 pm
Down below deck from the Arcata Plaza is the crisp, sail-white interior of Salt Fish House, with its Jules Verne-esque mural of tentacles and its glowing bar. Start there. Consider the aptly named and none-too-sweet Corpse Reviver #3, with its Bulleit rye, aromatic Angostura bitters and zing of ginger ($8), or the more tropical Thai Me Up, a lemongrassy concoction with coconut vodka and a touch of tamarind syrup ($9) that might just bring on a monsoon.
There are plenty of enticing appetizers, Humboldt Bay oysters among them, of course. The charred octopus comes in a single, tender whip of tentacle with smoked paprika beside an arugula salad dotted with tart olives and sweet sundried tomatoes ($13). The house surf and turf ($27) isn't steak and lobster, but grilled sturgeon beside a chunk of pork belly in a sticky, smoky-sweet Asian glaze. It will leave you wondering why we're not all eating pork and fish together all the time.
There will be dessert specials — and dessert beverages — so hear them out, but the orange cornmeal cake is a favorite ($9). The pale yellow wedge and its accompanying dollop of chocolate mousse, spill of caramel sauce and candied citrus peel strike a sweet balance.