Date Night for the Adventurous at the Black Ant
Living in the East Village luxury rentals at EVGB means that you’re situated in the heart of one of Manhattan’s most foodie-friendly neighborhoods. From a quick slice of pizza to an evening of extravagantly prepared Indian food, the options are seemingly endless. But if you’re a more adventurous gastronome with a curious palate, make a reservation at this inventive, one-of-a-kind Mexican hot spot: The Black Ant.
From the moment you step inside this dimly lit and evocatively decorated eatery, you’ll realize that The Black Ant is special. Sit back in a sumptuous black-leather banquette, peruse the menu, and you’ll see that the food served here is, well, decidedly different.
Because the Iliana Sermeno-helmed menu features ingredients you probably won’t find in many other restaurants in the city. To be exact, we’re talking about insects.
The Black Ant lives up to its name, incorporating ants, grasshoppers, and worms into many of its dishes. While this is a distinctive feature and might be surprising to diners in New York City, many cultures worldwide use insects as a sustainable source of nutrition. In Mexico, the country from which The Black Ant takes its culinary inspiration, you’ll find insects as food almost everywhere, from street vendors in Chiapas to Michelin-rated restaurants in Mexico City. In other words, there’s no reason to bug out. Let’s dig into these protein-packed and delicious dining options. Buen provecho!
If you’re hesitant to indulge in such unusual ingredients, muster up your courage by sipping on a potent potable. While the wine list features tasty Mexican chardonnays and cabernet sauvignons, the handcrafted Smoky Jalapeño Margarita or Michoacán Mojito would make an excellent start to your sure-to-be delicious dinner.
Whet your appetite with a bowl of Black Ant Guacamole — the buttery avocados and crisp chips pair perfectly with the sweet pomegranate seeds and briny black ant salt that make this concoction so unique. For a taste of coastal Mexico, try the shrimp aguachile punctuated with a bit of chinicuil worm oil.
And now, we come to dishes where the insects are the star of the show. Chapulines, a particular species of grasshopper, are a staple in certain parts of Mexico, where they are toasted and often served as is. There isn’t any odd flavor profile to these small snacks, but they’re known for their saltiness and distinctive crunch. At The Black Ant, the chapulines are served as an elevated version of a traditional dish. The hoppers come with shishito peppers, avocado, and queso blanco — you just roll it all up in a tortilla, and enjoy. If that’s a bit too much for a first outing, ease into it via the grasshopper-encrusted shrimp.
For those uninterested in attempting insects, the menu also features mouthwatering takes on familiar Mexican dishes. The taco pancita is The Black Ant’s version of an al pastor, combining pork belly with pineapple. During brunch, the chilaquiles verdes — fried tortilla chips smothered with spicy green tomatillo sauce and topped with an egg — are a true standout. And vegetarians can feast on fennel tacos on a poblano corn tortilla.
As you can see, while ordering a pizza to enjoy in one of the well-appointed East Village luxury rentals at EVGB is an option any night of the week, there are some truly exceptional places to have a culinary adventure nearby!