The idea was to make the Americans feel the real atmosphere of an Argentine place.
Novocento is an Argentine bistro in SoHo which I happened upon with a friend. Honestly there are only two reasons I chose it: first being there were a good number of people eating inside for a Tuesday night and second, the prices on the menu outside looked good (I didn't even look at what the actual food was).
Upon stepping inside I was happy with my choice. The atmosphere was warm and inviting with a good number of people eating and at the bar, but not too crowded that I couldn't sit down for a drink before taking a table. The music playing was loud but not overpowering, and I believe it was Argentinian.
Upon recommendation from our server, I ordered the skirt steak, with chimichurri sauce, and mashed potatoes. (My other choice was the more expensive pan-seared tuna.) I know that skirt steak isn't the most tender cut but I did expect it to be more tender than it was. The sauce was tasty, at bit salty, but good. The mashed potatoes seemed almost like they came from a box - they were overmashed. I wished they came with some kind of gravy or sauce or at least butter, but they were served plain. Odd.
I really liked the restaurant and the atmosphere and the rest of the menu looked good, but overall my meal wasn't as good as I had hoped. Still, Novocento has some allure to me and I will have to go back and try again sometime.