The Black Ant is an overly adequate restaurant without a single, significant appeal or broad dining friendliness. Nothing is wrong at the Black Ant, but nothing is really right. Are you looking for a tremendous tequila list managed by a team that knows the list well? Head over to Mayahuel. Would you like inventive tacos made with top-flight ingredients? Hey, Empellon Tacqueria is nearby. Looking for innovative Mexican cuisine in a great environment? Fonda is just a bit to the east.
So what exactly was wrong with the Black Ant? Nothing was “wrong” yet little felt right. First, we entered on a cold February evening with the Black Ant offering no place to hang coats. This is not a quick-serve establishment but a full normal restaurant. So our booth had four heavy coats slung over the backs where, undoubtedly, the collar-ends must have been annoying to the fine folks in the adjacent booth.
Second, we had a vegetarian with us looking for an appropriate option. The “vegan” entrée included chapulin, or grasshoppers. That caused an awkward situation.
Third, the goat entrée special offered no gaminess or distinctiveness. This adequately cooked piece of meat could have been lamb or even beef. The Black Ant feels like Midtown coming to the East Village.
Food highlight – the drunken monkey is a silly, spring break name for a delicious and interesting dessert.