Celery root with shitake veloute and mushroom gremolata
Mushroom purée, kohlrabi, pickled hon shimeji with Hen of the Woods mushrooms
Avant Garden is in the lower east side of Manhattan in New York City
Cremini mushroom toast with onion marmalade
Avant Garden and Ladybird
Where to start with Ravi and his gorgeous, delicious, driven-by-a-purpose restaurants?
There's hard work, enterprise-building, beloved pet inspiration, epiphanies and expansion of ideas, movements and offerings to get into. This is an impressive story of a man and his drive to effect change in his world and the world at large.
Ravi's concepts and work go beyond creating exquisite dining environments (check) and unforgettable taste experiences (check). A successful fine arts painter when the recession hit and luxury sales dropped, Ravi decided to take over a restaurant space near his lower east side apartment. With zero experience in the industry, he worked non-stop to make this first place, The Bourgeois Pig, successful. Ravi caught the restaurant biz bug and kept going until he was part of a dozen or so successful New York hot spots ranging from seafood to specialty spirits to New American and more.
So how do we get to a bunch of his restaurants going vegan?
Ravi ate vegan or vegetarian on and off his whole life, for no particular reason, and didn't make much of "a thing" about it. There would be years he was eating mostly vegan and years he chowed down on meat with the masses. Then came a girlfriend who introduced pets to their household. Ravi fell in love (with the pets, it didn't work out with the girlfriend). He got custody, added more beasts to his brood (a cat found on the street here, another rescue there) and found himself seeing the life and love he treasured in his own pets in any animal he came across. "The way they move...their characteristics...how can I love these cats and dogs so much and then not love these lizards or elephants or tigers?"
Then at the end of 2015, as his favorite eldest cat was in decline with major health issues, Ravi started journaling to help manage his grief. On the other side, he realized he'd written a manifesto about his desire to devote himself to animal welfare. On Christmas day he decided he would adjust offerings at all the restaurants he solely owns to entirely vegan. On January first, he called up a vegan chef friend to say - this is what I'm doing, want to help?
They first turned over the menu at Mother of Pearl, a Polynesian restaurant. Sales doubled. Next up was Avant Garden then Ladybird. All have distinct style and menus. At the restaurants he currently owns with partners, they've added plant-based options to the menus.
Beyond New York, Ravi is working on 100% vegan establishments in Denver, Miami, Los Angeles and concepts which may ultimately be franchised nationwide and worldwide.
Because one man can only do so much with his time, he also created Beast, a fundraising organization, to further his mission by throwing events which raise money for different animal rights groups.
This guy is a game changer to follow - keep track of his endeavors at DeRossi Global.
MY EXPERIENCE at LADYBIRD
• The lush decor is New Orleans meets Paris with a green paintbrush dragged through
• Exemplary menu - small plates that even my devoted-to-meat friend cooed over
• Cocktails - delicious options and I was so excited by the mocktail available
• House-made nut cheeses were exceptional
• Really just terrifically balanced plates - flavor, texture, nutrients
MY EXPERIENCE at AVANT GARDEN
• What a lovely, warm space - woods and glowing light
• They let "vegetables be vegetables" - showcased to shine (and satisfy!)
• This is finer dining at its best - beautiful presentation and very delicious plates
111 E 7th St, New York, NY 10009
130 east 7th Street NYC 10009