Took my wife to your fair city last night for her 40th birthday (we are from Phila.) and had a good time. We had dinner at Tao which we both thought was quite average. I had read about it being too loud, having bad service, and having to wait for tables but we experienced none of this.
The atmosphere was nice and we liked the dim lighting, but both felt the food didn't quite live up to the place's hype. While the food was cooked well, we both felt that it was clumsily made. It was overly seasoned in preparation resulting in over-the-top tastes, maybe to match the decor. We still think Tao is a direct copy of Buddakan here in Philly (and not as good).
We then went to Metronome in the flatiron district to hear some live Latino music. This is a pretty restaurant/bar and we enjoyed the music. We eventually had some late-night food there after we became hungry again. Once again, the food was quite underwhelming.
Finally, we went for a walk and checked out The Tiki Room, which is near Metronome. Once again, not as pretty as it looked on their website, but a nice place. We sat down in a little low-lit room underneath the stairs and were promply told that there was a $100 drink minimum to sit there. I thought he was joking and asked him if he was serious. After learning that he was we promply left. What's the deal with that? Is that a common thing in NYC? I've never heard of such a ridiculous thing.
All in all we had fun. Next time we return we want to experience something different in NYC. We'll skip the glitz (which is fun for a birthday) and go to a little out of the way cafe in the village or something like that.