Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Barbarian Salmon

About 9 years ago, I decided to use some vacation time to spend a week in San Francisco. Largely unfamiliar with the city, I asked coworkers for advice on things to do and places to eat - and my office-mate Peter suggested a little sushi restaurant called Country Station Sushi, in the Mission District.

I visited Country Station on that trip, and my next trip to SF soon after, each time by myself. On both occasions, I ended up chatting with the proprietor - a Japanese Butoh performer in her 50s who spoke about as much English as I spoke Japanese. But we communicated with hand signals and pantomime and what words we each knew - and each time she fed me items not on the menu. The last time I visited, it was a fish head - and she explained through charades and broken English which parts to eat and why they're good - the cheeks because the fish uses it's mouth so much and builds up those muscles, and the eyeball because it gives you strength. And on my first visit, it was Ba-ru-ba-ri-an Tuna.

It took me a minute or two to decode what she was calling the giant slab of tuna - fin and all - that she was slathering with spices, but came to understand it was Barbarian Tuna... another of her experiments that turned out delicious.

Sadly, Country Station Sushi is no more, and I'm not sure what's become of the chefs - but I'll always have fond memories of my visits.

Tonight, in honor of Country Station, I made Barbarian Salmon - mixing crushed garlic & ginger with Sriracha sauce, slathering it all over a fillet of salmon, then broiling it (along with sesame coated asparagus). I was surprised that it wasn't as spicy as I thought it would be - so I could actually kick it up next time with some chili powder or red pepper flakes. But it turned out tasty and brought back memories - which I think is a little appreciated value of food.

Country Station Sushi on Urbanspoon

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