To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2012 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.
When I leave a restaurant I'm reviewing, I immediately spend some time hashing out notes and talking out dishes. When I'm really impressed with a plate, I'll end up with a couple of lines of notes, which works out to about a paragraph of text in the final review. If I'm smitten with a dish, I'll end up with a little more. This dish is so good it's worthy of two paragraphs, I'll think to myself.
Bolsa's chicken breast was so good I was convinced I'd get three paragraphs out of it. I was obsessed. And later at night, while I tried to sleep but couldn't, I determined there was only one solution to the dissonance that robbed me of my slumber: the chicken must frame the entire review.
Jeff Harris' dish earned this response because it employed an innovative approach to solve a cooking conundrum I've wrestled with as a home cook over and over again. If the flesh of a cooked chicken is moist enough, the skin that surrounds it often absorbs that moisture and becomes soggy by the time it gets to your table. Crisp skin at the table, on the other hand, tends to be a harbinger of bone dry meat.
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I'm not typically a fan of preparations that deconstruct and resemble components like this, favoring instead simple preparations like the on the bone roast chicken you'll see at Craft, or The Grape. But Harris' chicken was so juicy it wept when urged with the tines of my fork, and the skin was so crisp it broke like glass. The plate made me smile and lifted my mood. And that's when you know food is at its best, no matter what the approach.
No. 100: The Cleaver and Block Burger at NHS Tavern No. 99: The Bone Marrow at the Meddlesome Moth No. 98: Arepas at Zaguan Latin Cafe No. 97: Jalapeno Poppers at City Tavern No. 96: Elotes: Everywhere No. 95: Dan-Dan Noodles at Royal China No. 94: Smoked Ham Mac and Cheese at The Porch No. 93: Chicken and Waffles at Jonathon's Oak Cliff 100 Favorite Dishes, No. 92: Regina Margherita At Cane Rosso No. 91: Devils On Horseback At The Chesterfield No. 90: Ginger Soy Baby Back Ribs at Tei Tei Robata 100 Favorite Dishes, No. 89: Croissants From Rush Patisserie No. 88: The Reuben At The Cock & Bull