We can now add Romanian food to Highland Park's ever-growing array of international cuisines. Parsnip, a tiny cafe on York Boulevard, is a great value, even in a part of town with a lot of wonderful, inexpensive food. A $9 bowl of chicken paprikash, a mild and creamy stew served over polenta, was enough for both my lunch and leftovers for dinner. Entrees come with either polenta or veggie barley pilaf. I especially loved the pilaf — it had that perfect grain-salad balance of being hearty enough to fill you up while also containing no filler and avoiding heaviness. I had it over the “red red braise,” a stew made of beef braised with red wine and tomatoes. There are also bulz — Romanian dumplings a little like arancini, made with polenta instead of rice — salads, wraps and lovely homemade soups, as well as a few sweets, including a dessert dumpling made with potato and served with apple sauce. I'll be back for the stuffed flatbreads, and dips that look as though they may broaden my eggplant dip horizons.
Credit: B. Rodell