My semi-hipster, Bohemian skirt-loving, free-spirited and childhood best friend from Ottawa had planned a little one and a half day drop-in stop in Edmonton. Her stay wasn’t long enough for a full tour of the city and we settled on a low-key Edmonton dinner instead. As she had important business to attend to the next day, she declined some of the more risque options in Edmonton (I had suggested Ichiban or Tres Carnales) and we settled on one of my favourite diners in Edmonton. Dadeo New Orleans Diner & Bar is a longstanding and popular establishment in Edmonton tucked away on Whyte Avenue (literally “tucked away” – I have been to Dadeo’s many times before and still have trouble picking out the neon purple sign among the other establishments along Whyte). It is a 50’s style retro diner with vinyl booths (unlike Co Co Di, it works at Dadeo’s), black-and-white checkered floors, and mini-jukeboxes at each table. My friend said the only thing that was missing from Dadeo’s were the roller-skates, though with its narrow aisles, I think it was for the better.
|Jalepeno Jelly and Tea Biscuit|
Dadeo is best known for its take on “Po’Boys,” a traditional Cajun-style sandwich served with coleslaw and your choice of potato hash (basically mashed potatoes), jambalaya rice, or my personal favourite, their house made sweet potato fries (for an additional $1 charge). They serve a variety of Po’Boys, but my top choices are Crab Cakes, Fried Oyster, and Blackened Catfish; and, at $12 a pop ($9 on Mondays!) there’s no way you can go wrong! As it was the restaurant’s specialty, my friend decided on the a Crab Cake Po’Boy with jambalaya rice, while my companion and I decided on the Blackened Cat Fish with sweet potato fries and Fried Oyster with potato hash. As is the custom at Dadeo’s, we were all started off with an individual tea biscuit and Dadeo’s famous homemade Jalapeño jelly. The Jalapeño jelly is served in a plastic shooter / sauce cup and literally looks like lime-green Jell-O. I can still remember my initial reaction to the sauce the first time I saw it, which was very similar to my friend’s: “What IS that?!” The Jalapeño jelly (which apparently you can buy in jars from the front) has a sweet, refreshing taste with little accents of Jalapeño spice. It goes excellently with the tea biscuit and is one of my favourite (and one of the most unique) things about a Dadeo’s dining experience.
|Fried Oyster Po'Boy and Potato Hash|
The Po’Boys followed the finger appetizers fairly swiftly. The Crab Cakes were delicious! They had a nice soft texture on the inside full of crab meat flavour and various New Orleans seasoning. The outside of the Crab Cake, however, was not nearly crunchy enough for me and the jambalaya rice – which I was trying for the first time at Dadeo’s – was fairly average (a little plain in my personal opinion). The Fried Oysters, unlike the Crab Cakes, had a fairly nice crunch to them and were full of very oyster-y flavour. The potato hash were cooked well, but definitely under-seasoned. It would be nice if Dadeo’s served the potato has with a complimentary small side of gravy (though they do offer it as a side for $1). Lastly, the Blackened Catfish was moist, flavourful, and cooked to perfection! The sweet potato fries (did I mention they were my favourite!?) were delightful! Sweet potato fries are sometimes hit and miss on the crunch at other restaurants; at Dadeo’s, the sweet potato fries are always amazingly crunchy (they’re pre-battered in an almost tempura-like batter and fried to perfection), perfectly seasoned, and served with fresh green onions and a mayo dipping sauce.
|Blackened Catfish and Sweet Potato Fries|
Dadeo New Orleans Diner & Bar is a unique restaurant in Edmonton and is one of the reasons Edmonton has it’s unique sort of vibe. The diner and provides a relaxing and comfortable environment conducive to lively conversation and laughter (which definitely happened that night!). My friend loved the whole feel of the restaurant and thought the food was great. For me, Dadeo is definitely spot-on for their mains and sweet potato fries, but could use some more work on the other sides. Either way, Dadeo is definitely a a great place to grab a Po’Boy with friends on any day of the week and definitely worth a visit if you’re from out of town.
Top Pick of the Night: Jalepeno Jelly, Fried Oyster Po’Boy, and Sweet Potato Fries