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Chile en nogada at El Vez
Photograph: Paul WagtouiczChile en nogada at El Vez

New restaurant and bar openings: April 24–30, 2014

El Vez, the Black Ant and more roll out in New York City

The following venues are expected to open by April 30th. Always call ahead, as openings can be delayed.

The Black Ant
Finding insects in food usually signals a DOH shutdown, but creepy crawlers are welcome at this modern Mayan cocina, from Ofrenda owners Jorge Guzman and Cliff Freid, and La Esquina alum Mario Hernandez. The titular critter—dehydrated and imported from Mexico, where it’s a delicacy—makes its way into several of Hernandez’s New Latin plates, including guajillo-jerk chicken with salsa de hormiga (literally “ant sauce”), and even one of Guzman’s agave-based cocktails: The Yum Kaax finishes mescal and corn juice with an ant-salt rim. For the squeamish, bug-free dishes include blood clams with chicharrón dust, Baja-style cod-cheek tacos with mango slaw, and braised-rabbit enchiladas with chilacayote ragout. The 155-seat space is as quirky as the menu, decorated with ant-stenciled wall tiles and black-and-white photos of Mexico City. 60 Second Ave between 3rd and 4th Sts (212-598-0300)

El Vez Stephen Starr knows a thing or two about importing a Philly restaurant into Gotham—he’s done it twice before with Buddakan and Morimoto. Now the industry titan adds a splashy Mexican crowd-pleaser to his list of transplants. Inspired by roadside cantinas, the 160-seat dining room is kitted out with circular banquettes, a photo booth and a grab-and-go burrito stand. Carrying over chef David LaForce to the FiDi kitchen, the menu includes regional South of the Border specialties like shrimp-and-passion-fruit ceviche, chile en nogada (beef-and-almond-stuffed poblano peppers) and mole three ways: negro with lamb, poblano with chicken and pipian-rojo with pork. The drinks list spotlights agave spirits, from the familiar (mescal, tequila) to the exotic (moonshinelike raicilla). 259 Vesey St at North End Ave (212-233-2500)

Handsome Dan’s At this East Village outpost of his Williamsburg candy shop, Daniel Levin turns out all-natural snow cones, cotton candy and sweets (Big League Chew, Lemonheads). 186 First Ave between 11th and 12th Sts (917-965-2499)

Huertas Young guns Jonah Miller (Maialino), Nate Adler (Blue Smoke) and Luke Momo (Sirio Ristorante) team up for this Basque spot, serving pintxos (chorizo and carrots, Russian salad with tuna) dim sum–style in front and a daily-changing four-course menu in back. 107 First Ave between 6th and 7th Sts (212-228-4490)

The Juice Shop Former Liquiteria operator Brian Schoenberger pours more than 20 cold-pressed juices (apple-kale, lemon-ginger) at this health-food café, featuring nut milks, acai bowls and an oatmeal bar. 688 Sixth Ave between 21st and 22nd Sts (646-918-6081)

La Compagnie des Vins Surnaturels The Experimental Cocktail Club crew brings their wine-bar spin-off to Gotham, with small plates from Armand Arnal (France’s La Chassagnette) and Tibor Kogler (Telepan), and a 600-bottle list emphasizing French varietals. 249 Centre St between Broome and Grand Sts (212-343-3660)

La Panineria Italiana Native Neapolitan Mario Pesce offers panini like speck with Taleggio and salame piccante with provolone at this Italian sandwich shop. 1 W 8th St at Fifth Ave (917-388-3257)
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