At Jeff Harris' Bolsa, One Dish Reveals the Chef's Chops

Want to measure a chef? Look to his chicken.

Other plates are almost this good. Smoked steelhead trout presents subtly smoky, cold and firm-fleshed fish, paired with a red-beet puree and acidic pickled celery. My table fought with forks for the last morsels. The quail, served with briny collards flavored with tomatoes and bacon, invited even more savagery. The little birds may have been a touch salty, but I ate them greedily, crunchy bones and all.

Flatbreads have mucked up many Dallas menus, but here they actually enhance it. "Twig and Branch" has been a Bolsa mainstay since the beginning, and locals have grown fond of its tart chevre play against sweet roasted grapes on a bed of spicy arugula.

Skip the mussels, which offer nothing new, but don't pass on the charcuterie plate to share. Salami and prosciutto come from suppliers, but pâté made from antelope and duck rilletts are prepared back at the Mercado. Spread on toasted bread from Empire Bakery and accented with mustard and pickles of ramps and other vegetables, the plate is worth a visit all on its own.

Shards of chicken skin finish off Harris' inventive roast chicken.
Sara Kerens
Shards of chicken skin finish off Harris' inventive roast chicken.

Location Info

Map

Bolsa

614 W. Davis St.
Dallas, TX 75208-4744

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: Oak Cliff & South Dallas

Details

Bolsa
Smoked Steelhead Trout..$12
Charcuterie Plate.............$14
Flatbreads.................$12-$13
Chicken.............................$19
Quail..................................$22

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It's not all perfect. Braised dishes troubled me more than once. Pig cheeks, though still tender, were either too lean at the start or braised too long. I missed the unctuous fat and collagen I've tasted in other versions. And lamb breast — a cut that was completely unheard of a year ago and now is on multiple Dallas menus — was far too fatty. While picking at the dish I checked out the same plate at a table next to me. The guy cleaned house in perfect silence. Not a single artichoke, mustard green leaf or scrap of lamb remained. I'm convinced I got a bad cut. If you do, send it back.

Spring is clearly the most exciting culinary season. The green shoots of new life accent the last threads of winter's hearty, comforting braises. Fiddleheads, fava beans, ramps and peas all bring a vibrant flavor that somehow put turnips and winter kale to shame. All of these are on display in Harris' cooking right now. Morels are coming soon, too. If you see them on his menu, try them — especially if he's paired them with that chicken.

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3 comments
Mac
Mac

I rarely order chicken out b/c most places F it up. Plus, it's chicken. I can do it better at home.

Years ago I found Stephen Keller's roast chicken recipe. I was in college and just really starting to cook for myself. It broke down lot's cooking barriers for me, being a kid with two working parents and no grandma withing 1500 miles. Cooking at home was mac n cheese, scrambled eggs.

This recipe has become a ritual.

http://www.epicurious.com/reci...

Aurora N Porter
Aurora N Porter

I find it odd that never once does this article mention where the incredible chicken comes from. I see the focus is on taste and technique, but provenance, lifestyle and whether a bird was pasture-raised makes a MASSIVE difference in the taste and texture of a delicious chicken. Bolsa gets their pasture-raised chickens from Vital Farms. www.vitalfarms.com

Nos_03
Nos_03

Um, I don't know how the author could have been any more straight-forward than saying 'Windy Meadows Farm chicken'... Learn how to digest what you read before you write a 'look-at-me' post again, lest you look like a fool... again.

 
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