Bolsa's Twig and Branch Flatbread. Photography by Kevin Marple

Restaurant Review: Bolsa

The North Oak Cliff restaurant continues to produce balanced, beautiful plates.

On any given evening, it’s one continuous motion from open kitchen to bar to patio at Bolsa, the corner spot a crossroads, dense with life. The restaurant has recently seen a series of head chefs, each bringing changes—a simplified, soigné minimalism, a splash of tongue-in-cheek creativity—but always hewing to the founding farm-to-table ethos (local cheese board, local meats). Now executive chef Matt Balke, in the kitchen since December, is delivering reliable balance and exceedingly pretty plates. A jewel of a smoked trout salad was lime-bright and fresh, with big, firm pieces of trout, cool avocado, shaved fennel and radish, pomegranate seeds, and fresh herbs under a profusion of pansy petals. A crisp flatbread with marinated, grilled mushrooms, thick-cut bacon, confit leeks, and blue-cheese Mornay made a balancing act of strong flavors. I hold a memory from several years ago of scallops I’ll not soon forget. So more recently, three overcooked specimens disappointed, however nicely they were paired with black caviar lentils (a little too salty), wilted greens, sunchokes, and trinity slaw. But a Windy Hill goat guisado was perfect. Warmly spiced, plump with hominy and meat whose flavor marvelously permeated the dish, it tickled the senses in just the right ways. A perfect example of why Bolsa continues to tick.

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