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  Occasion: Cuisine: Area: Cost: Rating:
  Night Out New American East Village Moderate Great

I had no idea that the word Calliope referred to so many different things. It's a breed of sweet little Humming Bird indigenous to Fort Tryon Park, a World War II tank equipped with missile launcher, a song by Tom Waits, and now a terrific new restaurant from a talented husband and wife chef team: former Waverly Inn chef Eric Korsh and Prune veteran Ginny Iverson.

The couple, you may remember, ran the acclaimed Restaurant Eloise in Sebastopol, California where they were widely praised by Josh Sens (three stars), Jeff Cox (three stars) and Patricia Unterman and Bauer who gave it 2.5 stars and agreed that it was a "must-visit place.” Eric and Ginny, who have worked at some of the city’s most innovative restaurants (Prune, Picholine, Café des Artists, Patio Dining), moved back to New York from California chasing a dream of a NYC restaurant of their own. After a couple of years of searching, they’ve found it. 

Calliope is located in the former Belcourt space on the corner of Second Avenue and Fourth Street, just blocks from their former cooking home at Prune. In turning Belcourt into Calliope, they’ve smartly retained the restaurant’s naturally beautiful bones: the tall wrought iron doors, the tin ceilings, the ceramic tiled floors, the beautiful banquettes made from polished wood, and the glossy Parisian bar fashioned into a semi-circle to encourage conversation from every stool. This is the kind of bar you’ll want to meet a special friend for a tray of icy oysters and a bottle of pink wine. To the space, they’ve added little more than a communal table covered in brown butcher paper adorned with fresh wildflowers in tulip vases. Taken together, the restaurant is an effortless charmer, a kind of Marilyn Monroe, with its tall windows and breezy summer-in-Provence vibe. On a steamy night, where my short walk from the 2nd Avenue F train made me feel like a stick of butter tossed into a hot oven, Calliope was instant refreshment.

The menu at Calliope is a culmination of these chefs collective experiences, and their passion for the sunny flavors of Southern France and Northern Italy. Anchovy, olives, lemon, olive oil, and butter star in many dishes. This is my kind of food: rustic, full-flavored, and gutsy. I’ve never really cared for shy food. I want to know what it’s about from the first bite, not wait around to see if it will open up or wilt. So for me, Calliope is a won ... [more, click below]

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Other restaurants in East Village :
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