I've been looking for Dallas' best Reuben for some time now, my hunt guided by some specific criteria. The brisket has to be brined in-house and slowly simmered to a tender temperature. The meat should hold together when sliced without shredding or falling apart. The dressing should have character -- I'd love a Russian sauce with a little heat or smoke. And the kraut: I'd love to find a place that makes a delicious fermented cabbage in-house, but I think I'm pushing my luck with that.
I'd heard the folks at Bolsa, where Jeff Harris from Craft Dallas has been toiling since September, put together a decent Reuben. I headed over last week to check out the sandwich.
Bolsa's Reuben is not the sandwich of my dreams. Though it's served on Empire's delicious pumpernickel bread, the rest of the ingredients (pastrami and kraut) are just Boar's Head. But Harris didn't come to Bolsa to play with commercial deli meat. He's been spending a lot of time a few doors down setting up the kitchen at Bolsa Mercado, a market set to open by the end of November, according to the chef.
Bolsa Mercado will boast a large deli case filled with house-made deli meats, charcuterie and sausage. In the kitchen they'll bake bread and pastries and grind meat. The goal is to scratch-make as many of the products as possible, both to sell to customers at the market and also supply the kitchen back at Bolsa. The rest they'll buy local: Texas Olive Oil and produce from Tom Spicer, Tassione Farms and the Barking Cat in McKinney, and cheese from local dairies like Veldhuizen and Caprino Royale.
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The market will be open in the morning with coffee and pastries. Lunch service will follow with a grab-and-go model, though there will be limited seating available. A large communal table will host 20, and also serve as the stage for chef-driven tasting menus, served when the market is closed.
"We've got a combination oven and a cryovac," Harris told me, when I asked him if he installed any specialty equipment. Large-burner stoves have been installed to help make stocks and soups. They're looking into liquid nitrogen for desserts -- the secret to the smoothest Popsicle you've ever tasted.
"I'll be over there in a week to start testing things," Harris said about the current state of the market. And when that market is finished you likely won't be seeing Boar's Head deli meats at either space any longer.
Harris is essentially building an ingredient factory to fuel Bolsa's offerings, taking an already excellent restaurant to the next level. If he succeeds you'll be able to get a killer hand-crafted Reuben and a burger with house-ground meat on a house-baked bun at Bolsa in the near future. Harris sounded pretty excited when describing the concept. I am too.