There are pros and cons to eating at Siberia, the restaurant owned by Tadashi “Buck” Helmslemsson on Baffin Island, Canada. Siberia, known for its ingredients foraged from the icy crevasses of the subarctic wasteland (polar bear bacon!), may end up in the top of the San Pellegrino “50 Best Restaurants In The World” list, but for very unusual reasons. If you dropped Rene Redzepi in the North Pole, you wouldn’t even begin to understand this restaurant.
Pros: You don’t have to worry about charging the deluxe tasting menu on your AmEx, because much like the Oregon Trail, you can barter your way in! As Bon Appetit described the frontier economic system:
Where before 22 courses cost $300 (not including wine, tax, tip), now Helmslemsson runs Siberia primarily on the barter system: animal pelts, solar panels, kombu, and Intelligentsia coffee (roasted within the week, please) are all accepted forms of payment.
Essentially, if you’re a historical re-enactor, L.L. Bean enthusiast, and/or mountain man, this is the world-class restaurant of your dreams.
Cons: If you were the type that shot all the buffalo but could only carry 200 pounds back with you to the wagon (whose axel then broke), you might not even make it to the restaurant.
Oh, Siberia, you and your weird form of culinary Manifest Destiny.
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