This week we checked in at Bolsa to visit with the new executive chef Joel Harrington who just returned from a three year gig as kitchen director at Red Rooster in New York. You may recall Harrington from his Dallas past where he served as chef de cuisine at Fearing’s, and exec chef at Stephan Pyles and Charlie Palmer’s. Bringing Harrington back from New York was a major coup for Bolsa as the chef has some major skills as evidenced by his new menu at the Oak Cliff restaurant.
Bringing Harrington back to Dallas was actually a series of happenstance. Bolsa owner Chris Zielke was pursuing other chefs for the position vacated by the previous exec Andrew Bell when he caught a rumor that Harrington was looking at returning back to Dallas where his two children reside. Once he confirmed that Harrington might consider the Bolsa position, Zielke was on a flight to New York to discuss the possibilities with the chef. The effort paid off, and the new menu reflects the true talent of Harrington. The degree of complexity of the dishes we found this week on the menu astounded us.
Also new to Bolsa is the use of A Bar N Ranch beef. A Bar N is a super unique cross breed of Wagyu and Angus raised in Texas with a superiority beyond prime and used by very few restaurants such as Fearing’s and Hibiscus. To pair with the high end beef now used at Bolsa, Harrington has brought in a Texas black garlic called Texas Black Gold. This may not sound particularly exciting, but knowing the richly flavored black garlic is not typically grown in Texas but instead Korea, this is a fantastic find for the restaurant that prefers everything local. This garlic currently cannot be found on any menu in Dallas.
Some of the dishes we sampled included the chicken liver macaron, which is this beautifully plated appetizer that Harrington devised with the thought of a play on chicken and waffles. The dish is sinfully playful, to be sure, and quite possibly the best bite of the evening. We also flipped over the Chilled Asparagus Soup, loaded with seasoned crawfish, ramps and queso fresco. The soup is served chilled, and has this wonderfully spiced mouth-feel.
Other dishes that you must order would include the Tongue & Cheek which is a Four Corners Brewery braised pork cheek, pickled Wagyu beef tongue, and malted barley, and the Windy Hill Goat Croquette which includes stewed hominy, guajillo yogurt and huitlacoche. Harrington is going through four or five goats each month, a meat that he has been using in his kitchens for some time now and really appreciates the flavor. So do we.
Bolsa bar manager Kyle Hilla has more than a few new seasonal cocktails to pair with each of these dishes. These are all equally as smart as the dining room menu. A few of our favorites include the Bitter End which boasts Woodford Reserve Rye, cynar, angostura, vanilla tincture, rhubarb bitters. And the Botanist which uses the la Caravedo Pisco, fennel, sweet pepper, dill, lime. The drinks are all as beautiful to behold as they are to sip.
To finish off your feast at Bolsa you will want to order a few desserts created by local pastry legend Joe the Baker. The Triple Layer Carrot Cake and the Goat Cheese Brownie are a few that you will not want to miss.
Bolsa | 614 W Davis, Oak Cliff | 214.367.9367