This place was my idea and we nearly didn’t eat here because the wait was a supposed hour and forty five minutes long.
An hour and 45 minutes to eat a place where the doorway looks like this
Now I know that sketchy doorways like this hide amazing restaurants all over the world and the overwhelmingly delicious smell of garlic and tomatoes made me pretty sure even the table cloth would be worth eating, but the real reasons we waited were two fold:
1. We couldn’t find another restaurant on Frenchmen’s Street that caught our fancy
2. Adolfo’s is built over a blues bar called the Apple Barrel and nothing mitigates a long wait for a table like cold beer and live music.
So, we put our names on the list, ordered a round of beers and hung out listening to a great blues guitarist. Just as I was about to order a second round, a guy with a clipboard came down the crowded staircase, he hollered a list of names and no one answered but us so we got the table. The whole process took about 30 minutes.
Many of the reviews online gripe about this long waiting list and the rather lackadaisical manner in which the tables are filled so I’ll only offer these pieces of advice: stand near the staircase so you can hear your name, keep checking back with the host/servers to make sure they haven’t crossed you off the list accidentally and keep an eye on the time. After a certain point their kitchen will close and they won’t seat you even if you are on the list.
The food was definitely worth the 30 minute wait. We ordered a variety of things including the oysters pernod
Spinach and oysters in a pernod cream with crusty bread? Sublime. I could have just had this for dinner.
But of course I didn’t.
Adolfo’s ocean sauce gets a lot of love online so I ordered it over the freshest fish they had available, which happened to be amberjack. The sauce is half crab and half shrimp and crawfish.
It was incredible but it bore a striking resemblance to the oysters in ingredients and consistency. For reasons of variety, I probably would have preferred Matt’s smoked pork chop instead.
I wish I’d thought to put a dollar bill or a Volkswagon or something next to that pork chop to give you an idea of the scale. That was one gigantic hunk of meat. Richly flavored and delicious.
Vegetarian options were slim so Ryan had pasta and said it was good but I think that you shouldn’t order pasta if you go to Adolfo’s. You can get good pasta a lot of places and you won’t wait 2 hours to get it.
Adolfo’s is fun. We happily waited for 30 minutes and thought it was worth it. I loved the Apple Barrel and the music and I think every tiny 10 table restaurant should be built over a blues bar to give the waiting patrons an amusing way to pass the time. Would I have been as happy had I actually waited an hour and 45 minutes? Hard to say.
As with most of my NOLA restaurant recommendations, you’ll have a great eating experience if you aren’t in a hurry and you settle in. As another reviewer put it “This isn’t America, it’s New Orleans.” The normal rules don’t apply here.