Had 8:30 reservations for Ideya last Friday night. Whoever knew it would be the two girls who would show up on time, even though they walked (okay, tottered) the half-mile there in their heels?
So yes, my friend and I were there on time. The hostess said that she'd seat us as soon as the other two arrived. I do wish more restaurants had air conditioning, because it was swelteringly hot. No matter, we positioned ourselves under the fans located at either side of the bar.
Obviously, our male counterparts did not understand the concept of time. Half an hour passed. The hostess, after we explained our situation to her (we had no control over those males! she nodded, understanding completely) said that she'd have to seat another party at our table, which we totally understood, but she said that we could have one by the window as soon as that cleared. By this time, we had ordered drinks at the bar - a glass of red sangria for my friend, a Puesta del Sol for me. Both very good. The hostess brought over plaintain chips and salsa for us to snack on while we waited. The chips were very good - sliced thin and not too salty. Salsa was not overly-tomatoey.. more like a salsa fresca than anything else.
9:15. One guy finally showed up (he had gotten a tad drunk at happy hour, the nerve!), the other called apologising profusely, saying that he'd be even later since he had to help a friend move. Fine. So now we were a party of three. We were seated, and drink orders were again taken, followed by our dinner orders. We split the ensalada de calamares and croquetas de pollo to start. The salad had regretfully few fried calamari, although the dressing on the salad was good. The croquetas were delicious - fried, not dense, and the sauce that accompanied them was fantastic.
For entrees, two of us got the lobster tails, while the other got the skirt steak. The lobster tail was good - the vanilla flavour was thankfully not overpowering, although the tail itself was a tad overcooked and tough for my taste. The tail was split in two and placed atop a bed of yucca puree, fried leeks piled atop. Yum. Fried leeks. So good. The skirt steak (called the bistec de argentina on the menu) was very good - I almost wish I had ordered that instead. It came with a scrumptious chimichurri sauce, and was served with fries. Yum. Fries.
We were stuffed at this point - but hey, there was dessert to be ordered. And by this time the other guy had shown up (we won't say how late he was), so we split the mojito pie - which was rather reminiscent of a key lime pie (albeit flavoured with mint, of course) and the banana tres leches, which was so very good in its spongy sweetness. Definitely preferred the latter.
Ideya bills itself for its mojitos, and you can buy shirts that proclaim that it serves the best mojitos in SoHo. I've had better. They were too lime-y and bland for my taste - but I did hear others in the restaurant praising them, so perhaps it was me.
Service throughout was wonderful - barely noticed when plates were taken away/being brought, although that might also have been because I wasn't paying attention. The waitress was also very nice and friendly without being overly so. The restaurant - including the bar area) was full the entire time we were there (and we left at around 11). I definitely like the fact that they brought us a carafe of water, so that we could refill our water at will without having to wait to flag someone down.
The bill came to about $65 each for 3 people (as we didn't make the 4th pay since he was so late - he got to buy my drinks the rest of the night), for 2 appetizers, 3 entrees, 2 desserts, 1 glass of sangria and 5 large mojitos. (This did not include the drinks at the bar.)
I rather liked this place. A convivial atmosphere, it serves rather good food. I'd go back in a group. Too noisy for an intimate date for my tastes. Perhaps when it got cooler, too (although thankfully we were by the window, so it was more bearable).