Bulla Gastrobar (pronounced like the '90s catch phrase “boo-yah”) opened in Plano’s Legacy West in February. The Miami-based chain emphasizes Spanish tapas and the inebriates traditionally served alongside them. Bulla, conceived by Carlos Centurion, president of Dallas-based prescriptive analytics company River Logic, opened its sixth location in Plano and has another coming soon in Charlotte, North Carolina.
There are relatively few DFW restaurants specializing in tapas, and Bulla is offering something the others aren’t: a brunch menu. It’s a welcome and exciting addition; traditional tapas dishes, such as patatas bravas and the tortilla española, are perfectly suited to a lazy weekend breakfast-lunch that’s never eaten around the time of breakfast.
Bulla is doing something else rarely seen on brunch menus: offering a prix fixe menu. For $27, brunchers can work their way through three courses while swilling down $6 sangrias and mimosas. The prix fixe option provides an opportunity to enjoy both eggs and sweet brunch dishes, ideally in portions small enough that they don’t end up in to-go boxes.
The menu is intriguing. One highlight was the huevos Bulla ($10.50) with poached eggs, potato chips, serrano ham, truffle oil and potato foam. Although foam is a fancy food trend that may be on its way out, here it added an earthy yet ethereal potato flavor to the dish without the accompanying density of carbs. The crunch of thin chips with the runny eggs and chewy ham resulted in a delightful texture that satisfied without creating the need to put on sweatpants and go back to bed.
It was also one of the two savory dishes we tried that didn’t require a handful of salt. Much of what we ate, desserts aside, was in critical need of salt — which, in a boldly confident move, was only available by request.
The tostada de aguacate ($8.50) came with a generous spread of mashed avocados and grated Idiazabal cheese, but the heirloom tomatoes weren’t quite ripe and the result was toast mash void of flavor. The garbanzo frito ($9), a kale and chickpea stew, was utterly insipid.
The huevos Benedictinos ($11) were topped with steamed asparagus that had no seasoning whatsoever, and the accompanying crispy chorizo had something more like the texture of a chorizo jerky that wasn’t enough to salt the rest of the dish. The coca ($12) featured quail eggs with tepid caramelized onions and bacon on a chewy flatbread crust the quality of a Totino’s frozen party pizza. Even salt didn’t make it appetizing.
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The sweet third courses dishes came as a relief. Our favorite was the torrija ($8) with grilled brioche, turrón (nougat) ice cream and honey. The churros con chocolate ($8) were served with dulce de leche instead of chocolate, but heated sweetened condensed milk is always good with fried cinnamon bread. Skip the watery coffee, especially at $3.50 and with no half and half.
In all, Bulla was exciting in theory, achieving the buzz it’s named after, but without salt — the “single most important ingredient,” according to New York Times food writer and chef Samin Nosrat — this brunch party was flat.
Bulla Gastrobar, 6007 Legacy Dr., Plano