Ras Plant Based isfrom husband-and-wife team James Beard Semi Finalist for Best Chef in New York State Romeo and Milka Regalli. Ras is the organic, plant-based, locally sourced, Kosher certified Ethiopian restaurant in Crown HeightsBrooklyn. Romeo and Milka have created a community-focused restaurant that highlights both classic and modern takes on Ethiopian cuisine, all housed in a colorful and playful Ethiopian-influenced graffiti clad urban space. The restaurant is tied together by a keen sense of hospitality that has come to be known as the “Ras Vibe” that extends from the owners to their staff and customers. 

Executive Chef Romeo Regalli was born in Ethiopia and was drawn to the world of culinary arts at a young age, always cooking with his mom in the kitchen and planning family dinners. A creative talent through and through, he attended the International Film School in Paris and went on to create several feature documentaries. When he arrived in New York he began his hospitality career working at Awash Ethiopian restaurant, where he met his future wife Milka, owned by her family. The two fell for each other through their love of art, their culture and above all cooking.

Opening the very week the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York, Romeo and Milka used the forced closure of dining to refine their menu, improve operations, and implement off-premises catering which allowed them to survive the pandemic and thrive, despite not receiving any government supplemented PPP.

Furthering their success, Ras Plant Based has recently launched lunch and brunch menus featuring vegan Ethiopian fusion options as well as a cocktail program, new mocktails, and raw desserts.

The lunch Menu is comprised of four different bowls, each beginning with a base of rice and crumbled house made injera chips to provide a crunch with each bite. The Bolé BowlRas Kitfo, made with soy protein crumble with onion, jalapeño, and spice infused oil; Alicha Shiro, slow simmered chickpea, and holy basil; Gomen, braised collard greens with diced tomatoes and sauteed onions; Yatakilt, cabbage, carrot, and bell pepper; topped with Avocado Salad, with tomato, onion, and jalapeño.

The Langano Bowl includes Ras Tibs with sautéed seitan with tomatoes and jalapenos in a zesty berbere sauce; Fasolia, string beans with carrots and caramelized onions; Zucchini, crunchy zucchini with carrots, celery, and onions; topped with Mashed Avocado, an Ethiopian spin on guacamole made with tomato, onion, serrano, cilantro, and house vinaigrette.

Ras’s brunch is divided among two categories: Very Traditional, like Dirkosh Firfir, berbere soaked injera, minced onion, tomatoes, and jalapeño; and Kinda Not, which featuresdishes Ethiopian-style dishes inspired by the cuisine of the southern United States showcasing Mac n Cheese, made with vegan mozzarella and cheddar cheese, coconut milk, Ethiopian cardamom, and berbere sauce, and French Toast with vegan ice cream, berries, walnuts, powdered sugar, and maple syrup. 

Chef Regalli and Milka have created a dinner menu inspired by their great grandmothers, and more modern interpretations.

A focal point is Chef Regalli’s Ethiopian Platter, which can be shared or served for one person. A variety of different spreads are found on a base of injera, a traditional spongy flatbread originating from Ethiopia that is made by fermenting Teff flour, the smallest grain in the world that is similar to millet and until recently was exclusively grown in Ethiopia. The vegan spreads include: Gomen, braised collard greens with diced tomatoes and sautéed onions; Missir, Regalli’s great grandmother’s recipe of slow simmered red lentil stew with a fiery berbere sauce and minced onions; Yater Kik, slow cooked split pea with turmeric and herb seasoning; Zucchini, crunchy zucchini, tomatoes, carrots, celery and parsley; Fasolia, string beans with carrots and caramelized onions; Brown Lentils, mild brown lentil stew with fenugreek; and Key Sir, savory beetroot with diced carrots and sautéed onions.

Apart from the platters, the restaurant offers several fusion entrees with choices such as: Mushroom Tibs, tender white button mushrooms with tomatoes and jalapenos, which is traditionally made with beef; and Mama’s Tofu, inspired by a recipe from Regalli’s mother that is composed of cubed tofu, jalapeño, tomato, and onion, season with Ras’s secret blend of spices.

Also new to Ras are five raw vegan desserts including Banana Cream PieTiramisu, and Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie sold by the slice.

Milka Regalli oversees the beverage program, collaborating with Ras’ bartenders to create the cocktails and mocktails, and the customers to name them. Cocktails include inventive and well-balanced drinks like: Lovespell, Cardinal rye, Del Bac smoked whiskey, dry curacao, grenadine, and lemon; Mango Mimita, mimita-infused tequila, lime, fresh mango, and agave; and are matched in creativity by MocktailsPina Faux-Lada, made with coconut cream and pineapple juice; and Crown Heights Queen, watermelon, ginger beer, mint, and agave.

The beverage program also includes Tej, a traditional Ethiopian honey wine made from a unique form of hops called Gesho, rotating vegan red and white wines, and rotating beers all sourced from Brooklyn.

Interior: The space is warm and inviting, and was designed by Chef Regalli and Milka, creating a Miami Wynwood-style vibe with brightly colored graffiti images of Ethiopian men and women highlighted on the walls by artist Ras Terms, who they flew in from Miami. As guests enter, they will find wooden high-tops and a beautiful wooden green bar with Ethiopian artifacts displayed on the shelves. Wicker basket and rope-style lamps hang above, and a small gazebo-style Ethiopian hut is seen towards the back of the restaurant. Wooden and mosaic tables are scattered throughout the space with mint green wire chairs.

LOCATION: 739 Franklin Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 112338

WEBSITE: www.rasplantbased.com

PHONE: 718-622-3785

INSTAGRAM: @rasplantbased

Happy Hour: Monday – Thursday: 3:00PM – 7:00PM featuring Ethiopian nachos and tacos as well as exclusive cocktails and beers.

Ras Plant Based features live music from local DJs Friday and Saturday from 5PM to close and on Sundays for brunch.