Salvo's Seafood & Deli
7742 Highway 23
Belle Chasse, LA 70037
Napoleon's Rating - ***/*****
Salvo's is one of those places you go to remind yourself just how good we have it here in the seafood department, or the place where you take out-of-towners to show them why our waters are so special. Here are all the casual varieties of traditional, New Orleans style seafood, and a bit from Cajun country too, served in great variety and immense portions.
A long low building, Salvo's packs them in at lunch and again at dinner. Bunches of coworkers, uniformed military people from the nearby base, families or just groups of buddies crowd around the long, plastic-covered tables and dig in together. For people living on the East Bank, Belle Chasse might seem a world away, but really it is not very far. I clocked my trip from downtown New Orleans to the oyster shell parking lot here at about 15 minutes on day. For a feast like this, that's nothing.
Service is geared toward quick ordering and quick turn-arounds for people who already know the menu by heart. It can seem a little rushed at the start, but once the first pitcher of beer arrives things settle down. It's typical to find a line here for a table at dinnertime, especially when crawfish are running strong.
Salvo's has a more robust, and better, list of starters than most casual seafood joints. Naturally, the seafood gumbo is a specialty, but the range of options expands widely from there. The crab-stuffed fried jalapenos are great, as are the broiled oysters, served on the half shell on a simple sheet of aluminum foil.
On Friday and Saturday evenings Salvo's might have up to seven items going in its various boilers, depending on the intersection of the seasons. On one visit there were three varieties of crabs alone. Crawfish and shrimp are the mainstays. The boil is not too spicy, and in fact I wish it were more so. But it does carry a lot of flavor. There's a lemony touch and a layered pepper component rather than fierce heat.
One special attraction at Salvo's is the dinnertime all-you-can-eat seafood deal, the specifics of which change daily. On Thursdays, it's all-you-can-eat fried frog legs, an unusual proposition, though other nights feature boiled seafood deals. While seafood is obviously the specialty, there are a few interesting meat dishes to try out. This doesn't look like the place for barbecue, but smoked ribs are on the menu and they prove quite good.
Beer is the default beverage of choice when boiled seafood is on the table, and Salvo's serves a great deal of it in huge, inexpensive pitchers.
Salvo's is a good bargain. Seasonal seafood is in line with prevailing prices. A few of the specials break the $15 mark, but most entrees are much less. Those with really big appetites can do some damage with the all-you-can-eat specials. Pitchers of beer are very cheap also.
Salvo's has been a Belle Chasse institution for better than 25 years, though for those just discovering it the place can seem like a real find. The setting is genuine, the people are friendly and the seafood is the real deal.