BY KENDRA MURRAY
If you’re looking for a nice dinner full of fresh, local ingredients, then I suggest you make your way down to Little Moss. Located in picturesque Padanaram, Little Moss is a cozy restaurant that truly embodies local. The decor is reminiscent of a seaside cottage, which suits the restaurant nicely given its location. Even the name Little Moss pays homage to the area’s whaling roots. The Moss is the name of the ship that takes Moby Dick’s main character, Ishmael, from New Bedford to Nantucket.
Prior to going out to eat at Little Moss, I had spoken with Chris Cronin, Little Moss’s former head chef. Right now Cronin is focused on the marketplace project across the street, which will be filled with local, produce, meats, charcuterie and hopefully open by June. Despite being very busy with that project, Cronin was kind enough to give a bit of background on the restaurant, menu, and local sourcing.
Currently, Little Moss sources their produce from only three local farms, Eva’s Garden, Apponagansett Farm, and Ivory Silo. The former two are both also located in Dartmouth, and Ivory Silo is but a stone’s throw away in Westport. The veggies served at Little Moss are what I’d call “hyper-local.” Though not all of the meats are from farms quite as close, beef, pork, lamb, and poultry are sourced from farms across New England, including Blackbird Farm in Rhode Island. Cronin said that even though these farms aren’t extremely local, they are all pastured raised animals, and he “knows the farmers are raising them right.” He is hopeful with the Livestock Institute of Southern New England’s (formerly SEMALA) new processing facility being built in Westport, there will be many more very local meats available at Little Moss. Cronin also mentioned being proud of sustainability and traceability of the seafood the restaurant sources.
I asked Cronin if he was always interested in the local movement, and he said a turning point for him was reading An Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan about a decade ago. This book exposes many of the problems with the current food system, as well as different, more sustainable ways that we as a nation should be eating. Becoming zero waste is an important, sustainable goal that Little Moss, as well as the new marketplace opening across the street, aims for.
When Karen and I went to eat, we started off with cocktails, I with the Ryerson (Chamomile Infused Rittenhouse Rye, Bols Genever, Cassis, Juniper, Maraschino Cranberry) and Karen with the Highball (Greenhook Ginsmith’s Beach Plum Gin, lavender syrup, fresh lemon juice, fresh mint, sparkling water). Both were delicious. Many cocktails are using local distilled spirits, and there are also several local beers and wines on the menu. We also had some local shellfish, Island Creek oysters from Duxbury and Riptide oysters from Westport. If you’re crazy for oysters, be sure to stop in on a Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, or Sunday for “buck a shuck” from 5-6pm. We also each got a plate of Eva’s Wild Greens (pickled watermelon radish, daikon, shaved hazelnut, and apple vinaigrette). The salads were fresh and flavorful.
For our meals I got the venison sausage and Karen the gnocchi. I very rarely eat meat dining out, but after speaking with Chris earlier in the week, I knew it was something I could feel good about eating. The sausage was served with sauerkraut and spaetzle. The sausage had a lovely taste and the spaetzle was phenonmal. Karen’s gnocchi looked fantastic (and she said it was!), topped with braised greens and Italian sausage.
We concluded the meal with some Chocolate Pots de Creme. Although I was pretty full, I had to help myself to a few bites of the rich, delicious chocolate topped with salted caramel. Little Moss also has a great selection of coffees, espressos, and after dinner drinks. All in all, it was a fantastic dinner, and I’m so glad we tried it out. If you’re looking for high-end, high quality local food, Little Moss is the place for you.
Winter hours: Dinner served Tuesday – Sunday at 5 pm – 9 pm
Summer hours to be announced
Location: 6 Bridge St, Padanaram Village, S. Dartmouth, MA