The Black Ant

Bugs. Some people squash them, some people scream at them and some people eat them. However, don’t be too afraid as at the end of the day The Black Ant is just a popular Mexican restaurant in the East Village with one of the best Smoky Jalapeno Margaritas to ever touch your lips. News flash: a majority of the dishes do not have ants or crickets in them, and the ingredients are fresh and familiar as can be. The dark bar area and low cocktail tables at the entrance make The Black Ant a perfect spot for a first date. Margaritas, chips and guac plus a busy restaurant are ingredients that are pretty hard to hate. That being said, gentleman, there are a ton of ladies celebrating girls night out here, and I’m sure they wouldn’t be opposed to you crashing.

The prawn salad has popped amaranth, pumpkin seeds, market greens and a piloncillo vinaigrette. (Don’t worry they will tell you what all of these details mean if you just ask.) The prawns come with the head on and the crunchy granola looking additive and avocado mousse garnishes are quit the treat. The only downside is that the salad was sadly a little overdressed. While there are several tempting appetizers to choose from like Hamachi Ceviche and Fish Tacos, the entrees really stand out and are harder to choose from. They portions are pretty medium sized, so I’d just order a couple of these to share instead of the starters. We tried a Scallop special with salsa verde. They were smooth, tender and a little slippery with the sauce but still came out on top. This was definitely an elevated dish on the menu through execution and not something you see regularly paired together.

When you are eating a lot of chips and sucking down caloric margs, a Roasted chicken with chile amarillo and grilled garlic ejotes is just the right option to level out these guys. I know you think you are at a bugs Mexican restaurant so why order the chicken, but it really balances everything out. Don’t snooze on that potato puree resting beneath the bird. You’ll slurp this up off the plate until your waitress steals it from you.

Now, the dish that you 100% must come here for are the Cactus Fries. These thick sticks might be better than french fries, and you are even getting some greens into your diet! The crunchy outside mixed with the softer, celery-like plant is served with a white sour cream dip. Asking for a second round of the sauce is encouraged, and these fries are one of the most exciting new dishes I’ve tried in a while. I imagine groups of girls coming here for just the tequila and cactus fries, and then skipping off to 16 Handles Fro-Yo down the street hand in hand. Mean? Well, I’d say pretty practical.

To leave The Black Ant on top, you must order the Yellow Corn Pudding dessert. Served with Creme fraiche, papantla vanilla bean ice cream, hot toffee sauce and crunchy corn pops topped with red headed worms (optional). It’s like a sweet corn bread cake with ice cream. Why not? If you are looking for Mexican food like this but on the West side, try their other hot spot, Ofrenda.

IMG_3432Cactus Fries