[Pigging by Wilfrid: September 12, 2012]
I should emphasize that this isn't a review. Calliope is the bistro which replaced Belcourt on the corner of East 4th and Second Avenue.
Although you could be forgiven for not noticing. Belcourt's decor, always a strength, remains in place. The style of service is similar. Belcourt chef Matt Hamilton worked at Prune; so did Ginevra Iverson. So far, at least, Calliope seems no more or less busy than Belcourt. Like Belcourt, it has a rather tricksier menu than you'd expect from a bistro (but it doesn't serve a burger).
Beef tongue with a jungle of mache lettuce, and sauce gribiche, was pleasant enough, but had been sliced sufficiently thinly that the distinctive spongy texture -- one of the best things about it -- wasn't noticeable. The texture was more like ham.
The dinner menu offers meat eaters limited options. There's roast chicken of course; there's steak, but I am never certain about $32 strip steaks; by all means, serve me hanger at that price. There's rabbit in a pasta dish.
By default, I chose hot and sour lamb neck. I like the cut; was less certain about the style. And indeed it may be a question of palates: I found the thin broth in which the lamb was served harsh and vinegary; some might say, "Yes. Hot and sour." Raw scallions on top didn't help, neither did canned/jarred unstuffed green olives, and what I'm quite sure didn't work was the introduction of little pasta parcels of sweet mascarpone. Clash.