food and wineIssue 25

Surla’s: Asian Fusion at its Finest


By Noel Daniel

The chef behind one of Modesto’s favorite Asian/Fusion restaurants is expanding his horizons yet again. Chef John Surla aims to open an upscale Italian eatery and steakhouse in Ripon in order to sample other culinary experiences.

“I have a bistro,” said Surla. “I needed a different concept and everyone loves Italian food. Everyone loves a big, juicy steak. That and Ripon’s a farming community, so it just made sense.”

Where better to take his homegrown, artisan menu than a farming community? For fans of Surla’s flagship location in Modesto, Surla’s Restaurant, there’s some great news: short ribs are coming back, along with other fall delights like roasted butternut squash soup, baby spinach salad with pomegranate, and pumpkin cheesecake. They’ll also be open for Thanksgiving, so book now before it fills up for a plate full of sumptuous turkey you don’t have to spend all day cooking.

And Surla’s Restaurant isn’t the only of his locations that’s seeing the return of fall-themed items. Lola Bistro & Express in Hilmar will be serving up linguica mac’n’cheese, braised meat, and meatloaf with root beer barbeque sauce.


If you’ve just plain never sampled Surla’s, the cuisine is a combination of flavors from the Philippines, Korea, Japan, China, Hawaii, France, Italy, and Spain. Chef Surla’s mission statement was to provide Modesto with a unique and diverse cuisine by using only the finest and freshest ingredients, and he’s managed to knock that out of the park.

Order up some of Surla’s Restaurant’s famous lumpia ($9), a Filipino spring roll that’s filled with grilled chicken, Joseph Farms Pepper Jack, sweet chili sauce, and scallions. Or dig into a Prime Shine burger ($12)—all Angus Beef with caramelized onions, bleu cheese, and a coupon for a Prime Shine Car Wash.

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