When you think of Lebanese cuisine, platters of kebabs and koftas probably come to mind. But there’s a burgeoning plant-based movement happening in DC and one local chef is diving in head first with the aim of changing up the way we think about Mediterranean food.
Keep your eyes peeled for the Roro’s: Modern Lebanese food truck driving through the DMV area this month because the mobile eatery has gone entirely vegan in honor of Meatless May.
“I’ve been working on it [the menu] for a long time and testing the [vegan] items as specials,” says Roro Asmar, owner and head chef at Roro’s. “They were receiving such great feedback I decided I wanted to join the Meatless May campaign in efforts to show DC the plant-based food scene is deliciously growing!”
Roro isn’t the only one to take notice of the plant-based culinary community that's starting to take shape in the city, though. Last year, popular Asian eatery Pow Pow made the decision to go meatless for good after testing a vegan menu. Then there's Donut Run, a vegan donut shop that's plotting a permanent space in the capital and hit restaurant Fancy Radish that has won the hearts of DC locals by making vegetables the star of their plates.
“My goal has always been to feed everyone,” says Roro. “When it comes to Mediterranean cuisine, it’s filled with plant-driven dishes and I want to highlight those and give them the attention they deserve.”
Well, folks, May has arrived, which means the new menu has officially hit the streets, so don’t be surprised if you roll up to Roro’s and see a line around the block. What exactly can you expect from this sans meat revamp? Get ready for dishes like Buffalo Cauliflower Wings served with vegan tzatziki and Falafel Burgers made with chickpea patties and a special hummus sauce. Then there’s everyone’s favorite Mediterranean dessert: baklava, but this time, it’s covered in dark chocolate and filled with an orange blossom syrup and chopped nuts.
Although the plant-based menu is only here for a month, Roro says its success will determine whether he can continue to offer the same menu pop-up style, at small food halls and future events. Plus, he’s got another special project in the works — and it involves vegan versions of everyone’s favorite cheese-covered indulgence: pizza!
Introducing: Roro’s Pizza, a soon-to-be concept that plans to offer pies and burgers, to satisfy our greasy pub cravings, all while being entirely vegan. The opening date is still under wraps, but we'll be keeping our ear to the ground for the big reveal.
“I want to fill that void for all of those with allergic or dietary restrictions, that way, everyone can eat what they want, when they want, instead of having to miss out on all the delicious classics,” he says.
We can’t wait to see what the chef comes up with! Until then, you’ll want to follow Roro’s: Modern Lebanese on Instagram to find out when the Meatless May menu is headed your way. They post daily and weekly schedules on their stories so you can adjust your lunch and dinner plans accordingly.