Just back from 2 weeks in Tokyo -- where I got to eat at Tsuruhachi (the sushi place owned by the guy who's sushi memoirs I sometimes mention) -- I was not expecting much from Country Station Sushi.
I stumbled upon it last summer while looking for parking near the Elbow Room. At that time the restaurant was boarded up with a "closed" sign that seemed permanent. Turns out the place shuts down twice a year for several weeks so the owners, a Japanese couple, can dance in Butoh festivals in SF and Japan. Last night they were open.
Country Station feels like someone plopped a sushi counter in the middle of a nursery school. There are books lying around (mostly in Japanese) about everything from how to make Tempura to Japanese fairy tales, and lots of little dolls and stuff.
The sushi was pretty good and creative. The dreadlocked Japanese sushi chef prepared hirame and shiro-maguro with vinegar dressings that I had reservations about until I tried them. The pieces were on the small side, and I've said before I find they meld better with the rice that way. Agedashi-dofu was nothing special, though. The menu is fairly extensive, including tempura, donburi, and other basic cooked stuff.
Intersting thing about shiro-maguro (albacore): I never remembered having that before coming to San Francisco. So I asked the guy at Tsuruhachi in Tokyo. He didn't even believe me that there was a fish called shiro-maguro. Not sure if he knows it by another name or it's really more of a west-coast thing. Either way, Country Station has a nice take on it.
I asked a waitress if she was there because she wanted to study Butoh with the owners. "Well, I dance, and I can do revelations," she said, "so I have an interest."
NOTE: Country Station is closed on Sat and Sun. Weeknights open til 9:30, but sometimes hours fluctuate, so call ahead.
Country Station Sushi
2140 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA 94110