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Months After He Arrived at Bolsa, Jeff Harris is Finally Starting to Do His Thing

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When the folks behind Bolsa announced that Jeff Harris and Matt Balke would be joining their team to replace Graham Dodds, and that Bolsa Mercado would be opening just down the street, I was excited. Maybe too excited. Harris told me he'd be making all of his deli meats in-house, and I guessed that Dallas' greatest Reuben would soon be served in Oak Cliff.

My gushing was premature. More than five months later, Harris still isn't curing many deli meats in-house. Brunch and lunch menus have remained relatively unchanged as well.

Harris' new spring menu, however, showcases a chef that's settling in nicely, and that menu -- namely the roast chicken -- is the subject of this week's review.

Spring is the most exciting time of year for all things culinary. There's something restorative about all the fresh green items that almost wash away a winter's worth of heavy, fatty braises and roast meats. Now spring signals new life at Bolsa, with a menu that features fiddle heads, spring peas, ramps (though those will be gone very soon) and other lush veg.

A spokesperson for Bolsa maintains it's the goal of the restaurant to make nearly everything in house. I'm not sure that's the best goal. Some things, like ketchup and other base ingredients, don't benefit enough from hand-crafting to warrant the work. Their bread, currently from Empire Bakery, is plenty good enough to stay on the menu, too. Corned beef and sauerkraut, though, are infinitely better when carefully crafted by hand. We'll see how long it takes before I get to try the Reuben I've been dreaming of for months.

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