Just finishing up a trip to NY. Here are the results -
Sushiden - We sat at the bar and had omikase. The bar was packed and we were the only non-Japanese, which at first gave me ganjin anxiety, but I calmed down. I can't give a learned discourse or compare it to other places in NY. All I know is that when I eat good sushi I find myself slowly nodding as though I've just learned the secret of the universe, and I did this many times at Sushiden. Amazingly fresh and flavorful. Standouts were a seared miso cod, abalone, and white salmon, but really, everything was amazing. Expect to pay lots of money.
Franny's in Park Slope - We had absolutely delicious pizza here. Thin crust from a wood fired oven. Not to initiate any curmudgeonly pizza debates, but I was at Di Fara last year, and I don't remember it having anything over Franny's. (Just to show that I'm not a pushover, we had pizza at Arturo's also and thought it decidedly disappointing). Great selection of wines by the glass also. Went to the Chocolate room for dessert afterwards. That place was a zip. The desserts at Franny's looked better.
Jekyll and Hyde (!) We took the kid for his birthday and I was absolutely expecting to hate it, and you know what, it was great! We spent the extra money for a tour of all the attractions, and the kids loved it. Food was OK, no better or worse than you'd expect, and the staff worked their guts out to please us. Definitely recommend for (expensive) child's birthday.
Yakitori Toto - The food here wasn't bad, but after the rave reviews on chowhound I was expecting better. The kobe beef tongue was tough and rather unpleasant, and the fried fish cakes tasted like they came from the frozen food section. Rice cakes and tuna avocado salad were tasty. Everything else fell in the middle. Fun atmosphere, low prices.
Kyotofu - I really don't get this place. It reminded me of the terrible desserts you get at kosher restaurants. Maybe if I'd grown up cultivating an appreciation for tofu desserts, but to me it seemed like the emperor's clothes. Give me a real dessert...
Otto - Loved the scene and the atmosphere, but the food just isn't very good. Pizza tasted depressingly like ketchup (depressing for me, the kids love ketchup). My guanciale pasta was OK after I dumped a ton of parmesan cheese into it. Even the signature olive oil gelato was a flop. It tasted vaguely lemony, I would never have guessed that it was olive oil.
Stand - the hamburger was good but nothing special. The toasted marshmallow shake on the other hand is indeed a delicious and unusual confection, worth going just for that.
Excellent Dumpling House - solid, workhorse Chinatown fare. I come from L.A., and always thought the Chinese food was better there.
Cupcakes - I don't get the whole cupcake thing for New Yorkers. We tried the cupcakes from Buttercup bake shop and Michel London. I find them dry and fairly tasteless. At least a slice of layer cake has a higher frosting to cake ratio. Must be generation x'ers lonely for their childhood.