Assemble a menu of familiar dishes, serve them in large portions, and charge a noticeably below-average price. . . and you may have a restaurant phenom on your hands. At the very least, your establishment will be busy all the time. Topic A at Adolfo's: how hard it is to get a table without a long wait. Topic B: why don't they take credit cards? (Answer: they don't have to. When you serve very filling platters at low prices, you can do anything you want.)
When the Marigny music and dining corridor was just getting started on Frenchmen Street (1990s), Chef Alberto Rodriguez opened a funny but excellent little Italian cafe named for himself right in the middle of it. After a few years he moved Uptown and later retired. Adolfo's took over his old place in 2000, cooking food in the same spirit. It caught on among the young Marigny habitues, who spread the word. Instant phenom!
A peculiar, ramshackle, one-flight-up dining room is furnished with tables made out of old treadle sewing machines and other highly miscellaneous fixtures. No two lines are either parallel or meet at a right angle. It's overcrowded and uncomfortable, a feeling exacerbated by that of being rushed. None of this seems to bother the faithful.
One can construct a good meal from the appetizer section alone. Be sure to find out what the fish of the day is before you order it. Some species are better than others.