By Blair Anthony Robertson, Bee Restaurant Critic
Out with the dogs for a long walk on a chilly Tuesday night, I was startled to spot the first signs of life at Zen Sushi since well before Christmas. For weeks, the windows had been papered over and, eventually, many began to wonder what was up.
The good news: The paper has come down and the restaurant looks ready to reopen soon after a major remodel fraught with construction delays.
The restaurant's many fans will be happy about that. But even better, the new and vastly improved look is going to make quite a splash inside and out, and it is sure to spruce up the once-drab corner at 15th and I streets, across from Memorial Auditorium.
At first glance, the makeover looks stunning, taking a ho-hum interior and turning it into a showcase of modern style and dramatic lighting. There appears to be a completely new bar, a dining room that is much more open and all new furniture.
For passers-by, you simply won't be able to miss it, with large vertical blue lighting effects in the windows capturing your attention.
The food has always been good, but now Zen Sushi is really making a fashion statement with its bold new look.
As I strolled past, there were a few people inside going over final preparations. From the looks of things, it's ready to open. We will try to track down owner Jason Hom and get specifics on the reopening, along with more details on what promises to be one of the better-looking restaurants in town.
Gov. Jerry Brown's new neighborhood is going to get even better. I've been keeping my eye on the renovation of the historic but run-down Maydestone apartment building at 15th and J. According to Sacramento Press, that 10-month project is at the halfway mark and will have 32 units with rents in the $750 to $1,300 range.
New residents at the Maydestone won't have far to go for for good sushi -- Zen Sushi is a two-minute walk in one direction and Mikuni is three minutes in the other. Keep going on 16th for three or four minutes and there's Sapporo. Plenty of other restaurants, too, including Capitol Garage, P.F. Chang's, Lucca, Petra, California Pizza Kitchen, de Vere's Irish Pub and, for lunch, the Bread Store -- all a few minutes away on foot.