Always with carrots

Trio Restaurant Bakery Market

Trio Restaurant Bakery Market

826 J St.
Sacramento, CA

(916) 444-7454

Most reviewers hate writing negative reviews—mostly because a restaurant is like someone’s child and is also a means of income.

That said, I cannot, in good conscience, allow anyone to willingly choose to eat at Trio Restaurant Bakery Market without giving them my two cents, as visits there have disappointed, and at times, left me livid.

To begin, on the most recent visit, by freak circumstance, I ran into a restaurant reviewer from another local publication, who was also there to write a review. You will not be reading a review from this other writer because “The review was so bad my editors just don’t want to bother running it.”


As the newest hybrid child of Gönül Blum’s family of restaurants, Trio is part restaurant, part bakery and part high-end food store. The store offers an eclectic selection of items, and the bakery is violently uneven in its offerings: Some items such as the baklava are outstanding, others are unpleasantly doughy.

As for the restaurant, three overarching points about the menu should be addressed: presentation, heat and the use of asterisks.

Presentation is brown. With carrots. (Always with carrots.) Placed side by side, the lamb shank, the stuffed chicken, the moussaka and the tagine all looked nearly identical.

Dishes often arrive warm or cold. Almost every table around us sent something back because of this.

Asterisks are the other item of note. At the bottom of the menu, an asterisk points out that “Not all ingredients are listed in the above menus items. We utilize fresh fruit and vegetables to add flavor to many of our dishes. If you have food allergies, notify the server.”

In addition, some ingredients listed in dishes may just not show up. A brown, lukewarm tagine of lamb arrived without the potatoes, dates, chickpeas or apricots listed on menu. Perhaps a second asterisk is required?

The pita bread is greasy and served with a Dijon-jalapeño-pesto dip that our server—henceforth known as “The Waiter”—described as a “savory baba ghanoush.” Until corrected, we all thought it was a bland honey-mustard sauce.

The menu lists the stuffed chicken as a dish served packed with preserved lemon, apricots, shallots, dates, cream cheese and goat cheese. Droolworthy, I know. Reality, however, was decidedly different: It arrived stuffed, instead, with cream cheese and bananas, i.e., banana-cream-pie-stuffed chicken.

A rare high note: The Turkish meatballs of beef and lamb served with glazed carrots (they work well here) over rice and pita are actually exotic in flavor and perfectly executed.

The kadayif, a Middle Eastern dessert similar to baklava, was properly made and rather delightful. Still, it was supposed to be served with a blood-orange sauce, but instead made it to the table topped with strawberry sauce. Sadly, one of our comrades was out of luck: allergic to strawberries. A shame we weren’t informed of the substitution ahead of time.

Actually, we were informed of none of the substitutions in any dish during the course of our meal. Our fault for not recalling the asterisk, I guess.

The worst part of the night, however, was The Waiter who should under no circumstances have been left to mind the shop.

The Waiter ignored customers because he was too busy texting. In fact, he only noticed the diners after the lone cook yelled at him from across the restaurant. The Waiter also locked the restaurant’s doors 90 minutes early. Customers who came to dine pulled on the door to no avail.

When asked, The Waiter’s response to this turn of events was, “Oh, well. You win some, you lose some. More free time for me.”

On a final note, I would have reviewed the tabbouleh, but it never arrived. At least we weren’t billed for it. I assume it would have arrived brown with a substitution of carrots, anyway.