After 10 years as a successful caterer, Ras Moses, a.k.a. Iron Chef, has put down roots with a permanent location and a clever name. Iron Chef Rastaurant just opened by the Dallas Zoo at 810 East Clarendon St., where you can find Caribbean classics such as jerk chicken and oxtail, plus a large number of vegetarian and vegan dishes.
"We specialize in vegetarian and Caribbean with a little twist of American," Moses says. "For 20 years, I've been vegetarian. It's rasta cuisine, the food that most of the people from the islands eat: no meat, just fruits and vegetables and a lot of exotic spices."
The house specialty is ital stew, a spicy Jamaican vegetable soup with beans and root vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, corn, okra or whatever else might be on hand. It's simmered with chile peppers and spices.
"It was a favorite dish of Bob Marley; it was the main dish he liked to eat," Moses says. "As a rasta and a vegetarian, I try to reconstruct most of these dishes that these celebrities are fans of. It incorporates coconut milk, a lot of exotic spices and fresh cilantro. Everything has to be fresh."
Other menu items include jerk chicken and jerk shrimp, curry chicken, chicken wings, curried goat, oxtail, red snapper, coconut curry shrimp, tilapia, steamed cabbage, and red beans and rice.
And in true Jamaican fashion, he does natural juices that have beneficial properties, such as ginger lemonade or a juice blend made from watermelon, kiwi and papaya.
"We also have a line of natural drinks geared for people, we call it the aphrodisia," he says with a wink. "There's Baby in the Back, Bedroom Bully, Black Stallion – they help individuals with their natural performance, and no side effects."
Moses moved to Dallas from New York 20 years ago to start a family. He's been cooking his entire life. "I would tell my siblings, 'I'm the toughest one around here; I'm the Iron Chef,'" he says.
After observing an increased demand in the past year from customers seeking a regular spot for vegetarian food, he felt it was time to graduate to a sit-down restaurant.
"I like to say that most people don’t have insurance, so we have to provide them with endurance," he says.