100 Favorite Dishes, No. 86: The Roast Chicken At Bolsa

Bolsa Chicken.jpg
Sara Kerens
To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2012 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.

When I leave a restaurant I'm reviewing, I immediately spend some time hashing out notes and talking out dishes. When I'm really impressed with a plate, I'll end up with a couple of lines of notes, which works out to about a paragraph of text in the final review. If I'm smitten with a dish, I'll end up with a little more. This dish is so good it's worthy of two paragraphs, I'll think to myself.

Bolsa's chicken breast was so good I was convinced I'd get three paragraphs out of it. I was obsessed. And later at night, while I tried to sleep but couldn't, I determined there was only one solution to the dissonance that robbed me of my slumber: the chicken must frame the entire review.

Jeff Harris' dish earned this response because it employed an innovative approach to solve a cooking conundrum I've wrestled with as a home cook over and over again. If the flesh of a cooked chicken is moist enough, the skin that surrounds it often absorbs that moisture and becomes soggy by the time it gets to your table. Crisp skin at the table, on the other hand, tends to be a harbinger of bone dry meat.

I'm not typically a fan of preparations that deconstruct and resemble components like this, favoring instead simple preparations like the on the bone roast chicken you'll see at Craft, or The Grape. But Harris' chicken was so juicy it wept when urged with the tines of my fork, and the skin was so crisp it broke like glass. The plate made me smile and lifted my mood. And that's when you know food is at its best, no matter what the approach.

Hungry for more? Check back every morning for another dish, and download our Best Of App for Android and iPhone for more picks on the go.

No. 100: The Cleaver and Block Burger at NHS Tavern
No. 99: The Bone Marrow at the Meddlesome Moth
No. 98: Arepas at Zaguan Latin Cafe
No. 97: Jalapeno Poppers at City Tavern
No. 96: Elotes: Everywhere
No. 95: Dan-Dan Noodles at Royal China
No. 94: Smoked Ham Mac and Cheese at The Porch
No. 93: Chicken and Waffles at Jonathon's Oak Cliff
100 Favorite Dishes, No. 92: Regina Margherita At Cane Rosso
No. 91: Devils On Horseback At The Chesterfield
No. 90: Ginger Soy Baby Back Ribs at Tei Tei Robata
100 Favorite Dishes, No. 89: Croissants From Rush Patisserie
No. 88: The Reuben At The Cock & Bull

Location Info


614 W. Davis St., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

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That is not roast chicken.  It is ersatz roast chicken.  No legs, thighs or drippings.  Too much work to reproduce simplicity.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

 It's not roast at all. It's sous vide. But the dish still invokes your best roast chicken memory well, with individual components that may surpass the original.

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