Thanks to everyone who wrote in w/ suggestions for my trip last week. we wound up having a great time! Here's the breakdown of where we went:
Lupo- Great service, really good food, not too expensive. The pork tenderloin special was particularly good.
Butter- Ugh. Should've taken people's advice, but my GF insisted b/c she always reads about it in US magazine. They were incredibly rude at the front desk, making us wait 45 minutes after our reservation time. When I started getting agitated, the a-hole at the front desk snidely told me that WE were the ones who showed up late (absolutely not true). The room was really beautiful, but after the wait, the food was completely underwhelming. We had an heirloom tomato salad with cheese on it that was completely frozen. Totally not worth it.
Bond St.- On the other hand, we walked over to this spot after the Butter fiasco and had a great time. We had a dessert called Chocolate Banana dim-sum (banana molded into the shape of flowers) with a cream dipping sauce that was insanely good. We even shared a curry shrimp tempura roll that was better than anything from Butter.
Matsu- Great sushi place on the east side. I think my computer monitor is bigger than the dining room, but it was fantastic. We had a roll (can't remember the name offhand) that had spicy tuna and a fresh fruit puree on top that was out of this world. They even took a polaroid of us and put it on the wall. Plus- it was really cheap! Bonus!
Schiller's Liquor Bar- Our friends took us here for brunch, and we loved it. Perfect eggs norwegian with really salty lox. And the chocolate bread in the breadbasket was great.
Cookshop- I know the reviews were mixed, but we had a really good experience here. First off, the Mint-Lime cooler is the best drink that I had my entire time in the city. It was like a mojito without the overwhelming sweetness. The appetizers were terrific, especially the smoked bluefish which was perfectly tender. People at our table were a little mixed on the entrees, but I had the duck and it could not have been better. It almost tasted like filet mignon. And the mixture of grain and fresh cherries underneath was a nice touch. People at my table who had the fish weren't quite as impressed. The flavors were a little underwhelming. But once we got to the dessert, all was forgiven. Chocolate merengue pie. Daaaaaamn. So good.
That being said, the best thing I ate the entire time was the free lox samples from the counter at Zabars.