I know this is a report about NYC but I thought I'd post here as well since some/many of you travel there to eat on ocassion.
For my wife's 40th she wanted to go to some place hip and exciting, so she chose Tao in Midtown. This is a direct copy of Buddakan with touches of Tangerine. A huge Buddha sits prominently in the restaurant with large candles inlaid in the wall around him. It's a cavernous place with exposed brick walls. Food was pan-Asian and generally average. It tended to be overly seasoned resulting in clumsily made, over-the-top tastes.
We then went to Metronome in the Flatiron district to hear some live Puetro Rican/Cuban music. Metronome is a large Deco-inspired restaurant/bar. The band sits in a little space above the bar (the "skybar"). Music was very good. We eventually had some late night food here when we got hungry again (they were still serving dinner at midnight!). Once again, food was underwhelming.
We then took a walk to The Tiki Room where we sat in a little low-lit room underneath the stairs. We were promply told that there was a $100 drink minimum to sit there, so we promptly left. $100 drink minimum? What's the deal with that???
Next time we hit NYC we will skip the glitz (which was fun for a birthday) and do something like a little cafe in the village or something like that. But, for those of you keeping score, so far it's Philly 1, NYC 0.