I hate to admit this since, well, I know Dallas food and restaurants like the back of my hand but prior to last week I had never stepped foot in beloved Bolsa. Before you say anything…I KNOW, OKAY??? Yes, I recommend Bolsa to people who write me asking where they should eat. Yes, I consider Bolsa one of the best spots in Oak Cliff if not the whole Dallas area. Yes, I’m a dick.
This past November, Chef Andrew Bell joined the Bishop Arts hot spot, bringing along a new spin on Bolsa’s seasonally inspired concept. As Spring comes into full bloom outside, a new Spring menu has bloomed inside. Last week, I was invited into Bolsa and because of the recent changes that have taken place, I’ll just blame the “good things come to those who wait” mentality for why I hadn’t made my visit yet.
Now, I will admit that I have a love/hate relationship with seasonal menus. I love them because I feel as though it really allows chefs to explore their talents and use the finest ingredients for that said time of year. However, I hate them because I always find something I absolutely live for and then, POOF, it disappears from the menu. Well, folks, it is no different here at Bolsa – I fell in love with approximately everything I ate. Shortly after being seated, my table was greeted by Chef Bell as well as a Dip Trio and both looked equally as enticing. The Dip Trio consists of roasted eggplant, red pepper feta and caramelized onion crema accompanied with perfectly sized crostini. I’m a sucker for all things dippy, so this was right up my alley. Don’t tell anyone but I could have bathed in the red pepper feta it was so good.
After our first appetizer tease, we were also served the Venison Tartare with yellow tomato gelee, qual egg yolk and salted yucca chips, the Chilled Texas Shrimp with jicama-radish salad and cucumber-mint sauce as well as the Green Garbanzo Beans with sea salt. Now, I don’t know about ya’ll but I like to pretend I know a decent amount about food, however, until last week I had no idea that garbanzo beans came in an edamame-like shell. I can’t say that just by looking at the menu I would have ordered these but HOT DAMN – they are the perfect example of not judging a book by it’s cover. These puppies were so delicious and I bet you they’ll pop up on
local menus other than Bolsa very soon. Our intermezzo course was the Cucumber Gaspacho with dill creme fraiche. Typically, I’m not a cold soup kinda gal but this dish absolutely blew me away. Not only did I inhale it, I could have drank an entire milk carton full if given the opportunity. Light and acidic while being sweet and filling at the same time, this immediately moved to my list of Top 100 Things You Must Consume In Dallas that I’m developing for 2014.
Next up was the Baby Artichoke & Goat Cheese Gnocchi. All of those ingredients are so right. The heirloom tomatoes and red spinach that garnished the incredibly delicate and fluffy gnocchi provided a stunning color palette. The baby artichokes were cooked wonderfully with perfectly tender hearts that could be popped in your mouth as easily as popcorn. Topping off the dish was a tomato-mint broth, adding to the airy Spring flavors. Along with the gnocchi, we were served a small portion of their Windy Hill Goat Belly Meatballs with pecorino and yellow pepper sauce as well as Diamond H Ranch Quail stuffed with elotes and queso fresco then topped with honey-chile glaze. What can I say? They stuffed a bird with elotes. Put a fork in me, I’m done.
As if we didn’t already need crane operators to remove us from the building, we were presented with our final course: dessert. Goat-cheese Cheesecake with Grilled Pineapple and Pink Peppercorn Shortbread crust as well Lemon Panna Cotta topped with a Black Pepper Cookie, Strawberry and Rhubarb. Both were different than your standard dessert in that neither were particularly sweet and each had a kick with the pepper. I never thought that pineapple and peppercorns could possibly be a “thing” but shame on me. The Panna Cotta and Cheesecake were so velvetly smooth, while the crusts and cookie were crisp and buttery. I didn’t have the chance to look at the entire dessert menu but I have a hunch that the other offerings are freaking incredible as well.
Throughout our entire visit, not only was the taste on point but the presentation of each course was on point. See? I knew there was a warranted reason I have sent so many diners to Bolsa, after all. With it’s unique location, intimate vibe and incredible food, Bolsa will stay on my list of top Dallas dining spots and now I have the ammo to back it up. I simply can’t wait to come back each and every season to see what else Chef Bell dreams up. If it is anything like this preview of the Spring menu, it is sure to be a treat for years to come.