I’ve been lurking on here for a week or so and really enjoying all the reviews and conversations and the community in general – I decided it’s time to contribute.
Thought I’d share something a little different from the myriad dumpling varieties that have been covered so far. A new Romanian cafe, Parsnip, opened up very close to me in Highland Park a few weeks ago. I’d been two times since they opened and went back tonight to get an order of each of their dumplings to take home and enjoy with a beer.
Along with salads, hearty stews and dips, they offer fried potato and polenta dumplings (two types of each) and each order comes with two. The savory ones are served with sour cream and pico verde. The pico verde seems to be lightly pickled onions and green chile (maybe anaheim?) with dill and parsley.
First up is the bulz: polenta dumplings filled with cheese, sauerkraut, and red bell pepper.
Really great layers of mouthfeel in these – there’s a nice crisp on the outside that gives way to the graininess of the polenta which is still very soft inside, followed by the cheese and crunch of bell peppers.
Next I had the vegan bulz: polenta dumplings with brussels sprouts and red bell pepper.
I meant to order the sweet dumplings (potato with apple, sugar cinnamon and sour cream) but didn’t realize that I had gotten these instead – the fault was my own, not the kitchen’s. I rarely order the vegan option off a menu. I was missing the cheese but I enjoyed these too. The flavors of brussels sprouts and polenta were nice together and the textures were good again.
Last, the gomboti: potato dumplings with cheese, parsley and green onion.
Again I loved the textures, different from the bulz this time. Great fried crisp on the outside with a very gooey and flavorful potato batter inside.
I’m a sucker for polenta so it’s no surprise that the bulz with cheese were my favorite of the three.
Parsnip was my first encounter with Romanian food – my Romanian co-worker said that their dishes sound very authentic after I described my first meal to him. Other than the dumplings, I can also recommend the chicken paprikash (creamy tomato chicken and dumplings on polenta or barley), vinete (smoky eggplant dip) and samale (ground beef and pork cabbage rolls). Anka and Aracely in the kitchen are very friendly and eager to talk to customers. It’s a great little place to drop into if you’re in the area and want something other than Mexican.
I’m disappointed that I didn’t get the sweet dumplings this time so I’ll probably return soon and edit this post.