Monday, June 8, 2009

Bolsa- 'They've got it in the bag"

The space is a converted automobile garage. Anything salvageable or reusable was. The old garage doors make for a beautiful wall of windows letting in natural light and a sense of nakedness. Original concrete floors have been transformed into patio stepping-stones while old timber, carbon piping and cinder blocks have been reincarnated making Bolsa restaurant and market perfectly “green”.

With no deep fryer or deep freezer and an honest effort to use local produce and meats to develop their ever-changing menu, Bolsa is all too perfect for the bohemian-ish Oak Cliff location. 

I walked through the door and was instantly over taken by the smell of fresh mango swirling in the air. Glancing towards the bar, I notice both bartenders diligently muddling mangos through strainers to infuse vodka and rum. While saying a quick ‘hello’ to an old friend, Jullian behind the bar, handed us a mango mojito (a potential newcomer to the cocktail menu). Ah ha, the reason for all the elbow grease. With a little tweaking and less sugar, Bolsa’s mango mojito will be a hit.

First thing I notice is a gorgeous wood table in the middle of the dining room. It looks like a simple slice of an enormous tree trunk. It would definitely look MUCH better in MY house! The wall of produce (hand selected at local farmer’s markets) is equally eye-catching. Whatever the kitchen might need or is currently using can be found there. Everything from spices to veggies are tucked away, no need for a pantry in the back.

Keeping with the open, breezy feel of the space, the bar opens to outdoor bar seating and a patio. (Simply popping open the windows behind the bar creates an inventive indoor/outdoor, double-sided bar). Weather permitting; sit on the patio, its lovely. With only a few two-top tables, multiple picnic-type tables and benches reinforce the friendly, comfortable atmosphere.

Enough gawking, it was now time to sit and enjoy (of course we opt to eat outside). Our super casual and totally friendly waiter immediately came over and fielded a multitude of questions about the cocktail list. With names like “bloodhound/bluehound” and “the recession” and no descriptions of the drinks, you know I had to drill him before making a decision. The fresh-juiced sandia margarita (watermelon margarita for all you non-Spanish speakers) easily sold me. Light, refreshing and packed with serious watermelon flavor, it’s the perfect summer-time drink. My only complaint, too sweet (seems to be a theme). Next time I’ll ask for half the sugar.

Exploring an exciting cocktail menu can get a bit dangerous with no food in my tummy so we immediately ordered the bruschetta tasting plate. Four different bruschetta preparations are served, and on this night my favorite was the Texas tomatoes over Dallas goat cheese and basil. On a second visit, I bogarded the salty prosciutto with sweet Medjool date bruschetta (my mouth is watering thinking about it now).

Next, I had the P.E.I mussels in a coconut, lemongrass and cilantro broth. Light, sweet and savory, this dish was perfectly balanced and perfectly suited for a summertime dish. Using the toasted bread, I was definitely that person sopping up every bit of the broth without inhibition (at some point the coconut broth was dripping down my chin I’m sure).  

While I thoroughly enjoyed my entrée, I found my fork more often than not digging in my friend’s plate. I am not a pork tenderloin girl, but apparently I am at Bolsa. Someone (that someone being the former chef of Dragonfly) in the kitchen knows how to cook pork. The searing gave the impeccably cooked tenderloin great texture. The red-fleshed escabeche peaches (marinated in acid then poached) paired with the pork needs a whole article dedicated just to them. That article would include the story of hand picking them at the Canton market days before, and would end with a summary of my obsession of them.

Usually skipping dessert, I ordered the white chocolate rum “tile” not wanting this dining experience to end. O-M-G!! On nilla wafer crust and drizzled with a toffee sauce, this piece of white chocolate “pie” was pure deliciousness. If you see it on the menu on your visit to Bolsa, make sure that you reserve your piece of the pie!  

Bolsa can be described as everything that the Dallas restaurant scene is craving. It is humble, chef-driven, locally-food forward, unique and completely unpretentious. The focus is simply in the fresh ingredients, the food and the drinks rather than the crowd who may show up to dine. Exposed and vulnerable, this eatery is taking a major chance. My advice; GO!! Lets support this gem of a restaurant.

  • 614 Davis St. Dallas, TX 75208
  • (214) 367-9367


  1. Hi Reagen!

    Your blog is precious. I love the personality that you've incorporated. Also, your take on food is quite unique. Thanks for sharing with me.

  2. Couldn't agree more . . . Bolsa is a treasure, one of our favorite spots in town!