Bolsa Mercado Cranks Out a Solid with the Turkey Ciabatta

Categories: 'Wich Trials

bolsa mercado turkey sand.JPG

Each week, Justin Bitner goes hunting for DFW's most interesting sandwiches. Have a sandwich suggestion? Leave it in the comments, and he'll check it out.

Venue: Bolsa Mercado
Sandwich: Smoked Turkey Ciabatta ($7)

Bread: Fresh ciabatta from the very familiar Village Baking Co.

Toppings: House-smoked turkey, even smokier bacon, arugula, Swiss, pepper relish, avocado spread

The Case: This week's 'Wich Trials takes us to the fairly new Bolsa Mercado, another Davis Street jam from the Chrises Jeffers and Zielke, owners of Bolsa. They've teamed up with esteemed chefs Jeff Harris and Matt Balke to create a market that splits time as purveyor of finer grocery goods and house-everything deli. The Mercado offshoot sits a Yu Darvish long-toss down the street from the original restaurant, offering the same rehabbed charm that Bolsa provides. Walking inside, the vibe reminds me of a more spread-out Jimmy's Food Store, minus the drive-thru.

To the left of the entrance, a large deli counter beckons, offering up various wares ranging from high-end deli meats to house-baked pastries and kolaches. Scribbled on a chalkboard behind the vast case, a list of five sandwiches stands amidst other offerings. Taking a quick look through the lineup, I land on the turkey ciabatta, which seemed to have quite a few unique elements going for it, with a pepper relish and avocado spread. Plus, bacon.

Once the sandwich was ready, I took the hand-off across the counter, shooting a glance at a pile of fresh wild boar sausage kolaches sitting behind a thin sheet of glasses, demanding to be my salty dessert. I shook off the temptation for the moment to refocus on the task at hand. Grabbing a seat on the small patio, I peeled the butcher paper away from my parcel to reveal a tightly constructed ciabatta baby.

The first bite reveals a great crunch on the exterior of the bread, with a soft interior and brilliant stratum of toppings. The deep flavors of the turkey and bacon hit right away, as each imparts a unique brand on the sandwich. The bacon, an applewood variety that isn't currently smoked in-house, lends an incredible saltiness to each bite that goes beyond the role of your typical swine side.

House-smoked turkey, as a slight contrast, gives a diminished flavor of smokiness, instead hinting at it coyly while the bacon is more aggressive. I spoke with Harris, the mind behind the dish, and found the preparation for the fowl to be quite thorough. The turkey is first brined to maintain its juiciness, then it's smoked, slung through the cryovac and then slowly steamed to finish it off. The result that hits the bread has all the right elements, balancing great smokiness without being dried out, a feat not often achieved by most deli turkeys.

There's an interesting play of flavors at work throughout the sandwich. While the turkey brings a nice base flavor, it's quickly swept up by the vinegar flavors of the relish. This particular relish concoction is a light mix of red peppers, red onions and vinegar. It adds the perfect amount of zip to a sandwich that leans more to the mild, smoky profile. The avocado spread, lathered onto the top and bottom layers, gives the silky flavor of the verdant vegetable in a more compact form. Harris whips the avocado into an aioli using lemon juice to complement the mayonnaise base and add another lifting element to the dish.

Thumbnail image for bolsa mercado exterior sand.JPG
Aha! Take that fresh juice!

The sandwich is great to pair with a busy day. It's not a plan-cancelling gut-buster, but it's got enough girth to keep you going. Plus, the sturdy ciabatta and smart construction (wet ingredients in the middle layer, take note everyone) allow for tearing off bites here and there without the sandwich disintegrating into a soggy mess.

The Verdict: Le Bag Market steps out of the shadow of its big brother and proves itself as the smoked turkey ciabatta excels.


Follow @cityofate and @j_bitner on Twitter.

More 'Wich Trials:
The Brough Ham Fleetwood at Off-Site Kitchen
Tha Nooner at Jonathon's Oak Cliff
The Fried Oyster Po' Boy at Po' Melvin's
The Sizzling Steak at Captain Nemo's
The Falafel Pita at Milk and Honey

Location Info

Bolsa Mercado

634 W. Davis St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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25 comments
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ts
ts

Maybe I've recently become a member of the 1% or something because $7 for a sandwich doesn't sound particularly pricey to me.

 

todd
todd

That sandwich looks great but 7 bucks? Yikes! How much for a beej on the side?

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

It's $2 more than a "$5 Foot Long" from Subway...If you can't see the difference, you deserve the subway food. The giant club sandwiches at Jimmy Johns are $6. .If you can't see the difference, you deserve the Jimmy John's food. A large sub at Firehouse subs is $7.59 .If you can't see the difference, you deserve the Firehouse food. A whole turkey sandwich at Cindy's Deli, with Cheese is $9.30. It does come with slaw or chips. So instead of eating bread baked a mile from where you are eating, and meat cured 30 feet from where you are eating, on a sandwich designed by NYC educated chef who used to work at Craft, you would go for 5 McDoubles - I say knock yourself out

cp
cp

I agree with some of your points. I cannot eat at Subway. I am snotty about certain things, like where and how the animals are raised, etc. I haven't bought into the religion of organic and the locavore movement, but I do prefer to buy my produce from good places, like the tomato farms twinwillow mentioned above. I haven't eaten fast food anything in 12 years. 

That said, when I do go out to eat, I'm going to choose places known for great service and good food. I consider Chili's to walk a fine line between fast food and an actual restaurant, but I do go there sometimes, so I guess those few times that I do (with friends, for margaritas, because it's the only place open), I realize that I'm ordering something that I wouldn't feed myself. It's the risk I take when going out. Even in fine dining restaurants, their prime rib isn't humane, or free-range, or without hormones. But I don't eat at those places every day, or every month. Maybe twice a year. Again, it's the "risk" I take.

I think that right now it's trendy to be a star chef who farms his own groceries that he serves in his little restaurant. It's not just a Dallas thing either, as Garden Cafe intimated in another post today (and I don't give two flying shits about an NYC trained chef who used to work at Craft). I watch Chopped all the time and the interesting pattern that I have noticed is that all these tattooed farm-to-table-keep-it-simple-organic-roof-garden hipster chefs all manage to get themselves chopped first. Even the ones who are NYC trained. As I say. it's a trend and it's not just Dallas, just go ask all the chefs who are making bank right now.  

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

It's a trend in Dallas because it's new here. It's been happening elsewhere for 10-15 years or more. I'm concerned more with the taste than the treatment of the animals. However, I have observed that agri-bisiness mass market meat taste mostly like crap, and the hormone/cage free poultry and well raised beef/pork just tastes much better. Just go to Europe and taste the meats, and it's pretty easy to see that most of what you can buy in a Tom Thumb is garbage. 

It's so funny that all the Suburban Republicans on here harp so much about "Job Creators", yet when a small business tries to create something good and local (and hire local people/support local growers) it's called "Trendy", or for "food snobs". You would think these hypocrites would be out supporting the small business owners who are the "job creators", but of course, since it is not corporate, suburban, bland garbage, they have no use for it.

todd
todd

I guess my statement that the sandwich looks great wasn't enough for you. None the less, I refuse to automatically overlook something just because it's a product of the awe inspiring, jizz in my pants greatness that is Bolsa.

I cannot believe that you food nerds failed to call kergo on a blatant error in his initial comment that boars head products are not sold at Tom thumb.

twinwillow
twinwillow

Correct about Boar's Head. Tom Thumb (Safeway) dropped them years ago. They're sold at Kroger and Sunflower stores.

They're pretty good for a mass commercial product. I particularly like their white American cheese for my burgers. I also like that they'll cut the cheese to the thickness I prefer.

twinwillow
twinwillow

That sandwich costs $7.00 because, it includes a "happy ending".

Schmattakid
Schmattakid

Griiled Chicken with sun-dried tomato, hard boiled eggs, garlicky rapini and pesto on baguette at Urbano Cafe

cp
cp

Urbano makes the greatest panini's. And tomato basil soup. 

twinwillow
twinwillow

A friend and I ate lunch here yesterday after going specifically for their HUGE tomatoes from Marfa. We split a prosciutto and cheese grilled ciabatta. Delicious! Looked a lot like the sandwich pictured above. No, it's not cheap but, you get what you pay for.

mark
mark

Are they from the large hydroponic farm in Marfa? Village Farms runs one out there I believe.

cp
cp

Those tomatoes are effing amazing! Nothing like them. 

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

$7.00 for a sandwich?  I can go to Tom Thumb right now, get a quarter pounds of Boarshead, fresh baked bread, lettuce and a thing of mustard, and still have money left for a water, and a USA today.  What $7 bucks gets:

-6 Value Burgers at most fast food places-2 Whataburgers-6 Bean Burrito's at TB, and all the condi's you can pile on.-2 packs of premium turkey dogs (then do like I do, and build a campfire-anywhere).

ps-A run of the mill sandwich for 7 bucks is just not practical.  Keep the 7 bucks, make yer own lunch, and put it in the kitty for something cool, like a trip to Arklahoma, or New Mexico.....it all adds up!

cp
cp

I love that you say "a thing of mustard". Not a jar or, of a bottle of, but a "thing" of. 

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

You like that...I hand crafted that for you, cp.  I had the bandsaw out until 3AM workin' on that "somebiotch".  I'm currently working on Kerg's 9.0, that shoots lasers, and automatically responds to MattL1, and Jon Daniel with the following message:

-The internet hates you.

Also, the new powerful Kerg's runs on solar power, and eliminates odor.  I started the thing up the other night, and "the thing" sprung a leek, shorted out, and ran straight through Mrs. Leary's fence singing Byrds circa 1965.  I have since engaged the Kanagle Pin, and fixed it to where it only sings Gram Parsons era Byrds tunage. 

Mervis
Mervis

That's what shirts are for....

Kergo 1 Spaceship
Kergo 1 Spaceship

he he....I get that sideways look when I go to Oklahoma and ask for napkins. 

cp
cp

I said "10 things of Tabasco" to a Minnesotan earlier and he looked at me sideways. 

Nick R.
Nick R.

Dude! --> "house smoked turkey" Can't beat that shit. Although, hard to argue with two whataburgers.

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

@masshole. We get it. You are the food anti-snob. But the food you eat sucks. Boar's Head is garbage. That "Fresh baked" bread is reheated frozen dough shipped in from Safeway in California. Guess what. You can drink shitty beer instead of the good stuff, drink shitty wine instead of the good stuff, eat fast food instead of decent food, all because it's "cheaper". But who are you trying to convince? Us, or yourself?

cp
cp

I don't really think the food he eats sucks. Every time they flash a pic of some McDonald's or Burger Crap burgers on here, he starts railing against how unhealthy all that crap is and it's why our kids are fatasses. 

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Kid's are fatasses because they live in bland suburbs and get chauffeured around in mini-vans and SUV's by fat suburban frau's. They never walk any where, never ride a bike (too dangerous), and eat crappy food

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