A Mexican Chef In NYC Is Giving Diners A Chance To Try Gourmet Mexican Food With Traditional Insect Ingredients
Back in 2014, the East Village didn’t know it was about to get a gourmet traditional Mexican restaurant. So traditional that Chef Mario Hernandez does not hold back from tossing in a few ‘edible’ insects to top off your guac or rim your tequila glass. Owner Jorge Guzman told New York Magazine that the ants are expensive because they only emerge in Oaxaca once a year.
Here’s a look at the foods you can expect at the gourmet New York City restaurant The Black Ant.
First, start with the guacamole with crushed ants to top it off.
Remember, this is an upscale Mexican restaurant we’re talking about so the guac is going to be extra ($13 to be precise). It’s served with wakame-black ant salt.
Try a grasshopper croqueta.
Mmhm. That’s a croqueta de chapulín. While there is one grasshopper who is staring you down, you can eat the rest of them without looking at them in the eye. They’re tucked in with yucca-manchego and salsa.
Not everything is covered in ants.
Like this buñelo de pato (crispy duck dumplings) bathed in Oaxacan Mole Negro y queso fresco. Támbien tiene algo por veganos: the roasted seasonal vegetables with vegan green mole and greens.
Para tomar: crushed worm salt rimmed tequila.
Yup. I guess worms are salty. The Black Ant is lauded for it’s cocktails above all else and is worth getting a spooky drink or two to celebrate the Halloween season.
Get spooky with these floating ant carcasses in your drink.
Eso es Buenbicho Mezcal with Chile ancho infused campari, cocchi torino sweet vermouth and orange oils. And ants.
Careful, because even dessert can bug you out.
Can you spot the insects? This is a platano cake, parsnip and grasshopper ice cream. Take your next adventure-seeking date here.
The chef goes back to Mexico every two months to restock on insects.
The menu changes based on the season for insect collection. Did I just block out that vendor at the market?
If you’re adventurous, but only en el mar, try this dish.
It’s (obviously) a seared octopus tentacle con frijoles, but can I just say that octopus are actually some of the most intelligent creatures and have been spotted playing a game of toss witch each other.
Can you spot the insects?
Because they’re there, all en mezcla con shishito peppers, avocado purée and queso fresco. I believe these are another variety of roasted grasshoppers.
Get your veggies in, along with these creepy white buggers.
I’m telling you, people are raving over this restaurant. ZAGAT continually gives the restaurant a 4 star rating and has rated their guacamole as the Best in NYC.
Veganos: meet your meal.
You know when you go to a fancy restaurant and there’s only one thing on the menu and it’s $22 vegetables? Well this is kind of like that (scroll down for more), but the reviews are incredible. The vegetables are all fresh, and we all know how time consuming fresh mole is to prepare. This is gourmet to the max.
Then of course there are tacos.
While both the owner and chef repeatedly tell news outlets that they brought The Black Ant to the people to show that Mexican food is more than tacos and burritos, their tacos are showstoppers.
This is a piña pastor with avocado purée on a fresh spinach tortilla. Veganos, rejoice.
You can find more traditional (in the modern sense of the word) comidas here, too.
Like some good ole’ fashioned pollo rostizado (roasted chicken breast). Served with grilled onions, camote purée y chichilo.
Some dishes will have hidden insects.
The chef told Latin Glam that the key to breaking taboo is to incorporate insects like you would any other food. Hide the face.
“If we don’t have the surprise element, if we see the insects and decide to engage with it, it makes it a little less crazy.”
Although some people are here for the crazy.
I mean, who hasn’t bought salt and vinegar grasshoppers at your local Sloan’s Ice Cream Shoppe as a teenager just to be edgy? ????????
Now you can be adult, fancy edgy at The Black Ant.
ZAGAT also rates their brunch as Top 10 spots in NYC.
Don’t worry. These eggs have nothing crazy in them, unless you consider duck confit crazy, which you might if you decide to google it.
Claro, tiene elotes.
These come with spicy mayo and crab meat, so they’re a little next level. But they’re still our favorite comfort food no matter how you dress them up.
No te preocupes: you can get American things like avocado toast, too.
Although, támbien lo tiene crab meat. Vegetarians can opt for the Peaches and Cream french toast, which is made of brioche, manchego toast, roasted peaches and cream, pistachios and lavender honey.
Let’s talk about dessert real quick.
Because they offer “mousse de chocolate,” which is exactly what it sounds like, but with avocado puree, a cacao crumble and coconut sorbet.
Plus, uji matcha churros?! It’s topped with prickly pear gel. I’m drooling.
Pues, dale and get yourself some merengue if you’re not ready for buggy food.
Whatever your dietary restrictions or expansions are, The Black Ant has something for you. Si se puede, support your local authentic Latino owned restaurants, whether it’s your corner taco stand or the gourmet ant specialty Mexican restaurant in the East Village.
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