The Black Ant

The Black Ant

By Joshua M. Bernstein

In this adventurous era of offal and offcuts, once-daring bites—tripe, kidney, sweetbreads—are now de rigueur. But despite these widened horizons, there are several culinary hurdles that some diners just don’t have the guts to cross—namely, bugs. For an approachable introduction to the protein-filled insect kingdom, beeline to the East Village’s The Black Ant. In a quirky-cool room decorated with ant stencils and street art–style bug murals, chef Mario Hernandez oversees an adventurous menu of modern Mexican fare.

Chunky guacamole comes sprinkled with smoky crushed-ant salt, which also rims the tequila-driven Yum Kaax cocktail that contains house-pressed corn juice. Heavy on tequila and mezcal, Jorge Guzman’s drinks are exemplary, particularly the smoky jalapeño margarita. Care to try grasshoppers atop crunchy tortillas? Jiminy Cricket will grant that wish, as well as serve you creamy bisque with a grasshopper croquette. If your tastes run to larger game, go for crispy wolffish-cheek tacos, mezcal-braised short ribs, or the supremely tender suckling pig, served with crackling skin and grilled tortillas. Pigging out, as well as bugging out, are both suitable approaches to dinner at The Black Ant.

... on the side

get happy
Daily from 4 PM until 7 PM the kitchen cranks out a discounted selection of tacos, tostada,s and guacamole for just $8 apiece. Bonus: margaritas are just $6.

go west
If you dig The Black Ant’s eats, head over to the restaurateurs’ other outpost of Mexican cuisine, the West Village’s Ofrenda.



dinner: Sun–Wed 4 PM–midnight; Thu–Sat 4 PM–1 AM
brunch: Sat–Sun 11 AM–3 PM

price range

$9 (chapulin bisque) to $27 (costilla en chichilo)