Calliope is one the few East Village restaurants I really love. Sure, the neighborhood is fun and cheap, but higher-end restaurant quality (aside from the likes of Alder, Prune, Porsena and a couple others) is practically non-existent. It could be the most perfect, casual romantic French bistro.
Ever since The Times published an article on the happy hour oyster craze in NYC, it is pretty difficult to get me to pay regular prices for oysters (and why would you?!?!); but Calliope is an exception...though they now have a 5-7p oyster happy hour! Their East Coast oysters with mignonette are delicious and it wasn't even so much about the oysters, but the sauce. Oddly, mignonette can taste different everywhere and they have a superb one with cracked pepper.
Due to my total obsession with sea urchin, I had to order the sea urchin toasts and these were a disappointment. It could be that the urchin was from Maine and personally, I only care for the California kind, but the texture was a little too slimy and tasted too fishy. Serves me right for ordering that anywhere but a sushi joint.
One of the best dishes of the night was the spring onion, leek and goat cheese tart. You could taste the layers in the dough with pillowy goat cheese topped with greens. Worth the $14 (gasp).
Looking to get your green on? Look no further than this salad.
My mom always orders 'exotic' menu items thinking they will always be the most tasteful. The quail with chantrelle mushrooms, cipollinis and vinegar fell a little short of better than average. It was tasty, but spending time getting meat off small game birds doesn't exactly pay off in the end. Plus, it just looked like a mish-mosh of stuff.
Chicken was never a dish I would want to order until I had chicken from Barbuto. Now, it is in the rotation at even the finest of restaurants. This roasted chicken had the crispiest of skin and perfectly seasoned, juicy meat served with stuffed cabbage and carrots.
Standout dish of the evening was the milk-poached halibut, green chickpeas, favas and white asparagus. Do NOT leave Calliope without ordering this! The presentation, the texture, the spring peas! All in glorious harmony together.
The best part of my night was seeing this:
Two people that have been together for 50 years and still in love. My parents.