Any place that wallpapers its bathroom with pages from Moby-Dick and Gulliver’s Travels gets extra points in my book. But the truth is, I fell for this “Northern Dining Room” hidden inside a former heating and sheet-metal shop the second I walked in – oyster-shell chandelier, octopus coat hooks, French-blue and white wallpaper and all.
It’s hard not to catch Yukon fever in a room where so many are having so much fun. What started as a popular mobile oyster-shucking outfit up yonder, run by Andrew Seymour, Eddie Rideout and Brian Ng, is now a free-spirited, modern-day frontier restaurant where patrons from river guides to tech entrepreneurs to woodcutters all know one another. On an average night, expensive mountain bikes are locked up outside next to old pick-up trucks. I walk in with the avalanche expert and the cookbook author, who warmly greet their architect while pointing out the town banker. It’s Cheers set in the Great White North.
Local produce from traditional farmers anchors every dish: smoked bone marrow smothered in leeks, parsley and celery; seared scallops with enoki mushrooms, pickled chard stems and ginger-scallion jam; and tender duck breast surrounded by fiddleheads, corn, meaty shiitake and more fresh greens. Our expert server Kal, a singer-guitarist who is attending firefighting boot camp, brings us a low-alcohol mint and cucumber kombucha cocktail brightened with citrus and locally made Free Pour Jenny’s rhubarb bitters (Seymour’s wife, Hilary, is a co-owner of Summit Kombucha).
I fell for this “Northern Dining Room” hidden inside a former heating and sheet‑metal shop the second I walked in – oyster‑shell chandelier, octopus coat hooks, French‑blue and white wallpaper and all.
With Dorothy Ashby’s “Afro-Harping” on the turntable, we down succulent Shipwreck oysters from P.E.I. seasoned with a drop of Scotch in the empty shell, served with a grapefruit-scented Domaine de la Chaise sauv blanc from the Loire. It’s a bouncing scene, but nothing, say my dining companions, compared to mid-winter, when the nights are long and the whole town wants to go where everybody knows your name.