84 E. 4th St., at Second Ave.; 212-260-8484
Like many excellent restaurant recipes, Calliope’s farm lettuces with feta and scallions ($11) was born at home. When married chefs Ginevra Iverson and Eric Korsh first threw together their “go-to salad” several years ago, they had busy schedules, a new baby, and the limited resources of the nearby Korean deli, which could be counted on for red-leaf lettuce, scallions, and “reasonably good feta,” says Iverson. To render it bistro-ready, the chefs made a few considerable tweaks, bolstering a basic vinaigrette by blending in four-and-a-half-minute soft-boiled eggs, a stealth addition that enhances body without weighing down the tender greens. The sheep’s-milk feta is mild and creamy, the scallions sharp, the dill-heavy seasoning intensely aromatic. And the farm lettuces, which might range, depending on the calendar, from a California five-variety potpourri to a single bouquetlike head from an upstate farm are always conspicuously fresh, exceedingly crisp, and never, ever cut into bite-size pieces. That’s what knives and forks—and fingers—are for. “My mom and I always ate lettuce with our hands,” says Iverson, who invites her customers to do the same.