84 East 4th Street at Second Avenue, East Village
Getting There: 6 to Astor Place; R to 8 Street – NYU; F to 2nd Avenue
Restaurant Review: Calliope
Old world French inspired bistro Calliope seems to be placed in a bit of a peculiar location for its makeup. The grand interior would perhaps have best been suited further uptown rather than a relatively nondescript corner on East 4th Street. But despite its distinction amongst a sea of underwhelming neighborly dining options, the buzz that surrounds Calliope is certainly warranted for first timers as a youthful block is transformed into a Parisian brasserie that sits comfortably in the Marais. Or at least, that’s how it felt.
Since opening back in July, the former Belcourt space has been widely bandied about as a neighborhood gem- a pleasant surprise for uninformed skeptics. Our party sought out a Friday evening reservation and the lively atmosphere greeted us immediately upon entering the corner-side doorway. The traditional looking bar was swarmed with thirsty patrons, downing the likes of “Old Fashioneds” and “Manhattans” ($12) like it was 1965, as they awaited their tables. Once sat, a delicious basket of crostinis toasted with an anchovy spread and fresh radishes was placed in front of us and quickly polished off. After a mostly forgettable plate of “Baby Scallops” ensconced in a soup-like, olive oil broth, we tore into a generous portion of piping hot “Roasted Bone Marrow.” The three mammoth bones would have had even Fred Flintstone himself salivating as we applied each rich bite atop toasted bread slices coupled with its requisite caramelized onion spread. The crimson red rare marrow was incredibly tasty- creamy, despite the typically diminutive amount drawn from each bone.
Even the entrees were surprisingly excellent. The “Rabbit Pappardelle” ($27) paired delightful ribbons of soft freshly made pasta with some of the most tender poultry we’ve eaten in some time. Served atop a brothy bed of steamed Brussels sprouts and a light, flavorful sauce, the dish was a revelation for our party, who typically shies away from the four-legged creatures. Moreover, the “Crispy Roast Chicken” ($26), served in a similarly salty layer of broth was perfectly prepared- tender with an eye-opening and savory affixed skin. The accoutrements of roasted carrots and a stuffed cabbage cigar were ideal compliments for another unexpectedly delectable dish.
No trip to Calliope will be complete without indulging in their “Baba Rhum” ($9), an essential combination of pastry and syrupy liquor. Served with a side of fluffy whipped cream, the light cake is divided down the center and doused with Diplomatico Rum for a collaboration of flavors unlike any run of the mill dessert being served. The attentive staff and friendly server steered us in the right direction at Calliope all evening long. And with so many aspects of the meal that led to an overall enjoyable experience, the biggest surprise at Calliope was that we hadn’t rushed down to the East Village to have dinner there sooner.
Rundown of the Meal
Roasted Bone Marrow (Special)*
Baby Scallops (Special)
Crispy Roast Chicken ($26)*
Rabbit Pappardelle ($27)*
Baba Rhum ($9)*