Gonul Blum's Trio closes, makes way for new sushi place

Gonul Blum, for years a fixture in the local food scene, has sold her latest restaurant, packed up her culinary repertoire and moved to the Bay Area.

The news will surely disappoint many of her admirers who had come to enjoy Blum’s keen sense of fresh, dynamic flavors and her Turkish/Mediterranean cooking.

Blum had been on the move in recent years, but only locally, swapping her East Sacramento “Gonul’s J Street Cafe” with Formoli’s Bistro a few years back. Then she opened Trio at 826 J St. downtown in June of 2012 and, while it was slow to catch on and develop a following, the food was often superb.

I caught up with Blum by phone. She penned the deal to sell the restaurant a month ago.

“My husband got transferred to San Ramon. We live in Oakland now, so I had to sell the restaurant,” she said.

Her husband is Mitchell Blum, a plastic surgeon specializing in non-invasive facelifts.

Trio’s final day of service was two weeks ago. But the expansive space won’t sit dormant for long. Mike Jang, a longtime restaurateur, plans to open a high-end sushi place there and be open by mid-December.

“I think it’s a really good location,” Blum said. “It’s going to be awesome with the Kings.”

Blum is referring, of course, to the proposed arena at the site of the downtown mall. Restaurants are buzzing about the potential, and we’ve already seen upscale seafood place McCormick and Schmick’s (1111 J St.) replaced by more family-oriented Claim Jumper.

Jang, who owns Sensei Sushi in Rancho Cordova, says he is in the process of building a sushi bar at his new downtown location. The restaurant will be called Sushi Paradise.

I asked how his restaurant will distinguish itself from the many other sushi eateries in town.

“I will be using three of the very, very high-end sushi chefs that I scouted. One is from Beverly Hills and two are from the Bay Area. Mine is going to be more of a high-end restaurant. I’m only using the freshest fish — the fish will be flown in from Japan.”

He said there will be a section on the menu called omakase, or chef’s choice, that will cost from $35 to $100, depending on the ingredients.