BUDDY V’S Doesn’t Suck Like We Thought It Would

[imagebrowser id=2026]

Before we get to explaining the headline, a question:

Why are all cannoli shells as hard as a rock?

Are they supposed to be that way?

Does Mama Leone go out of her way to teach her bambinos: “Nowa youza gots to make-a these-a sosa they break-a your teeth-a each-a and every time-a, capiche?”*

It must be so, because Buddy V’s does nothing to disabuse you of the notion that these cylindrical tubes could double as Bangalore torpedoes should another land war break out in Europe.

This is a bit surprising since Buddy V is, like-a a cake decorator/pastry chef or something, who one might think would pay a bit more attention to the safety of his customer’s bicuspids. (Before we get to explaining things further, you should know that ELV regards cake decorating — the baton twirling of the culinary world — with the same contempt he usually reserves for fast food pizza, Republican presidential candidates and the Kardashians.)

Those shells may have been harder than trigonometry, but they did nothing to dissuade us from concluding that if red and dead Italian-American cooking is your thing, you can do a lot worse than this newbie in the old First Food & Bar space at the Venetian.

The origins of this Elizabeth Blau/Kim Canteenwalla production started with Sheldon “Call Me Shellie” Adelson — who apparently commissioned an Italian wedding cake of appropriately over-the-top proportions for one of his relatives from Buddy Valastro. So enamored was he of Valastro’s talents (and of the revenue he might regain from this hidden corner of his property) that a deal was inked to have the Cake Boss’ brand (and the family recipes!) affixed to this enterprise.

So, with all of that as its pedigree, Buddy V’s launched a couple of months ago. If you know anything about us, you know that ELV was absolutely, positively underwhelmed by the whole idea.

“Vegas needs more red sauce like Chris Christie needs another cheeseburger,” is what he thought to himself as he walked through the open portal:

[imagebrowser id=2027]

We were hoping to sneak in, but sneaking in just doesn’t happen for ELV on the Strip anymore, so we were seated and got the full, intensive-care treatment. (Most of our loyal readers know that we rarely mention service for this very reason. But the waitron assigned to us was a real pro – attentive, briefly chatty and solicitous, but also mostly invisible.)

Once seated, we did the p.r. thing and chatted up the chefs (more on that later) and Katie Conway (one of our favorite p. r. gals in the world) before getting down to business — that business being plowing through about a third of the menu.

To our amazement, almost every dish was a clear winner. The eggplant parm (yeah, that’s all the dignity this menu gives to the word parmigiana – in accordance with all the dignity Italian-Americans have brought to these shores) is a double layer of twice baked eggplant both crispy and creamy, and so good you’ll be tempted to order another portion. (This from an avowed eggplant-hater, so you know it’s good.) Grandma’s meatballs may not challenge Rao’s recipe for local meatball hegemony, but they disappeared quickly after a number of dips and dustings in a vivid tomato ragu and some sharp Pecorino Romano. Those meatballs made another appearance in Valastro Sunday Gravy:

[imagebrowser id=2029]

…and amalgam of every popular protein — meatballs, sausage, lamb shank and pork — simmered until they’re falling-off-the-bone tender and then simmered some more in the family marinara sauce. It’s quite the meat and red sauce-fest, but also quite toothsome when served with a big plate of al dente rigatoni.

Almost as good was the linguine and clams:

[imagebrowser id=2030]

….and a veal Marsala:

[imagebrowser id=2028]

….that showed some real care in the kitchen.

We joked with Canteenwalla that a Canadian-Indian (dots, not feathers) chef shouldn’t be cooking Italian this well, and that’s when he trotted out Bryan Forgione (he of the Italian-American Forgione restaurant dynasty), and that’s when it all made sense to us. Forgione has this food in his blood and it shows. His substantial chops are probably being wasted here, but as long as he and Canteenwalla are paying attention, you will be surprised by the vibrancy of this food.

John Mariani  has said for years that there’s nothing complicated about Italian-American food. All it needs, according to the author of The Italian-American Cookbook, is to be seasoned and cooked with care…and good ingredients. Then and only then can it really sing.

Buddy V’s may not be hitting the high notes in Rigoletto, but it carries its tune quite nicely.

ELV’s dinner for two, which could’ve fed four, came to $130+$30 tip, and included several glasses of wine.


In the Shoppes at the Venetian/Palazzo Hotel and Casino (Remember: when they spell it “shoppes” they’ve seen you comin’.)

3327 Las Vegas Blvd. South

Las Vegas, NV 89109




* For this bad Italian accent (and any and all offensive references to Italians)  we hereby apologize to John Arena and John Mariani…but necessarily to all Italians.

4 thoughts on “BUDDY V’S Doesn’t Suck Like We Thought It Would

  1. And then there are these Italian-Americans:

    Vito Acconci
    Pietro Belluschi
    Giorgio Cavaglieri
    Mario J. Ciampi
    Neil Denari
    Romaldo Giurgola
    Michael Manfredi
    Rosaria Piomelli
    Mario Salvadori
    Lawrence Scarpa
    Ricardo Scofidio
    Paolo Soleri
    Robert Venturi
    Brian Azzarello – comic book writer
    Joseph Barbera (1911–2006) animator, cartoon artist, storyboard artist, director, producer, and co-founder, together with William Hanna, of Hanna-Barbera
    Timothy D. Bellavia (born 1971) children’s illustrator, author and founder of We Are All The Same Inside – Sage doll-making workshop
    Ivan Brunetti (born 1967) cartoonist and comics-author
    John Buscema (1927–2002) comic-book artist and one of the mainstays of Marvel Comics during its 1960s and 1970s ascendancy into an industry leader and its subsequent expansion to a major pop culture conglomerate
    Greg Capullo (born 1962) comic book artist
    Anthony Flamini (born 1978) comic book writer
    Frank Frazetta (born 1928) one of the world’s most influential fantasy and science fiction artists
    Bill Gallo (born 1922) famed cartoonist and newspaperman
    Dick Giordano (born 1932) comic book artist and editor
    Frank Giacoia (1925–1989) comic book artist
    Carmine Infantino (born 1925) comic book artist and editor who was a major force in the Silver Age of Comic Books
    Walter Lantz (1900–1994) cartoonist and animator, known for founding the Walter Lantz Studio and creating Woody Woodpecker
    Bob Montana (1920–1975) comic strip artist who created the characters that launched Archie Comics
    Joe Orlando (1927–1998) illustrator, writer, editor and cartoonist
    Jimmy Palmiotti – writer and artist of various comics, games and film
    Leo Politi (1908–1996) artist and author who wrote and illustrated some 20 children’s books
    John Romita, Sr. (born 1930) comic book artist known for his work on Marvel Comics’ The Amazing Spider-Man
    Don Rosa (born 1951) comic book artist for Disney Comics.
    Eric Stefani (born 1967) pop musician, former Simpsons animator, and Grammy-nominated composer and writer
    Jim Valentino (born 1952) writer, penciler and editor of comic books

    Ettore DeGrazia
    Robert De Niro, Sr. (1922–1993) abstract expressionist, father of actor Robert De Niro, Jr.
    Robert Longo
    Tony Sisti (1901–1983) painter and boxer
    Frank Stella (born 1936) painter and printmaker
    Joseph Stella (1877–1946) futurist painter known for his depictions of industrial America

    Gil Amelio – former CEO of National Semiconductor and Apple
    William Amelio – president and CEO of Lenovo Group Limited
    Richard Belluzzo – businessman who worked as an executive at HP (executive vice president), SGI (as CEO), and Microsoft (as president and COO at one point) before becoming CEO of Quantum Corp. in 2002
    Samuel DiPiazza – CEO of PricewaterhouseCoopers
    Nick Donofrio – Executive Vice President of Innovation and Technology at the IBM Corporation
    Richard Grasso (1946 – ) former chairman and CEO of the New York Stock Exchange
    Lee Iacocca (1924 – ) former chairman of the Chrysler Corporation
    Angelo Mozilo – founder and CEO of Countrywide Financial
    Robert Nardelli – Chairman & CEO of Chrysler
    Frank Nuovo – head of design at Vertu
    Paul Otellini (1950 – ) Intel Corporation’s fifth Chief Executive Officer
    Samuel J. Palmisano (1951 – ) chairman and CEO of IBM
    Patricia Russo (1952 – ) CEO of Lucent Technologies
    Peter F. Secchia – former chairman and CEO of Universal Forest Products

    Robert Benedetto – founder of Benedetto Guitars, Inc.
    Domenico Canale (1843-1919) founder of the D. Canale & Co. distributorship that became the largest distributor of produce throughout the Southern United States and the primary beer distributor for the Mid-South region
    Pat Croce (1954 – ) entrepreneur, once owner of the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team
    Edward J. DeBartolo, Jr. (1946 – ) billionaire, former owner of the five-time Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers
    Fred De Luca – founder of Subway Sandwich
    Giorgio DeLuca – founder of Dean & DeLuca
    Domingo Ghirardelli (1817 – 1894) founder of Ghirardelli Chocolate Company
    Tom Golisano (1942 – ) billionaire founder of Paychex, former owner of the Buffalo Sabres, ran for Governor of New York in 1994, 1998 and 2002
    Arthur Edward Imperatore, Sr. (1925-) businessman from New Jersey, and the founder and president of the NY Waterway, a ferry service
    Gennaro Lombardi – opened the first US pizzeria in 1905, Lombardi’s
    Lelio Marino (1935 – 2004) entrepreneur
    Robert Mondavi (1913 – ) leading vineyard operator whose technical improvements and marketing strategies brought worldwide recognition for the wines of the Napa Valley in California9
    Amedeo Obici (1877 – 1947) founder of the Planters Peanut Company in 1906
    Almerindo Portfolio (1877–1966) President of Bank of Sicily (USA), and Treasurer of New York City
    Anthony T. Rossi (1900 – 1993) Italian immigrant who founded Tropicana Products
    Jay Sarno (1922 – 1984) Las Vegas business entrepreneur who owned several high-profile hotels

    Mario Gabelli (1942 – ) stock investor, investment advisor and financial analyst.
    Amadeo Giannini (1870 – 1949) founder in 1904 of Bank of Italy, which later became Bank of America, the largest bank in the United States
    Frank Quattrone (1956 – ) former investment banker at Credit Suisse First Boston who was prosecuted for interfering with a government probe into Credit Suisse First Boston’s behavior in allocating “hot” IPOs

    Leonard Riggio – owner of Barnes & Noble
    Louis Rossetto (1949 – ) founder and former publisher of Wired Magazine

    Guido Calabresi – Italian-American legal scholar
    Samuel Alito, Supreme Court Associate Justice.
    Vincent Bugliosi, successfully prosecuted Charles Manson and is also an expert on the John F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy assassinations.
    Ann Marie Calabria, judge on the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
    Frank Caprio, Chief Judge of the Providence Municipal Court.
    William J. Castagna, Judge on the United States District Court.
    Victoria A. Graffeo, Associate Judge of the New York Court of Appeals.
    Jaynee LaVecchia, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of New Jersey.
    Antonin Scalia, Supreme Court Associate Justice.
    John Sirica, judge most famous for presiding over the Watergate hearings.

    Frank Borzage (1893–1962), film director and actor famed for his mystical romanticism
    Albert R. Broccoli (1909–1996), producer of all but one of the first 17 James Bond movies
    Barbara Broccoli (1960 – ), producer, daughter of producer Albert R. Broccoli
    Nicolas Cage actor, director and producer
    Frank Capra (1897–1991), film director and a major creative force behind a number of highly popular films of the 1930s and 1940s
    David Chase (1945 – ), creator of The Sopranos
    Michael Cimino (1939 – ), film director – The Deer Hunter
    Francis Ford Coppola (1939 – ), five time Academy Award winning film director, producer, and screenwriter
    Roman Coppola (1965 – ), film and music video director
    Sofia Coppola (1971 – ), director, actress, producer
    Frank Coraci (1966 – ), film director
    Gerard Damiano (1928 – ), former adult film director
    Brian De Palma (1940 – ), movie director
    Tom DeSanto (1968 – ), film producer
    Danny DeVito (1944 – ), actor, director, and Oscar-nominated producer
    Denise Di Novi (1956 – ), film producer
    Abel Ferrara (1951 – ), film director
    Vincent Gallo (1962 – ), movie actor and director starring in a number of independent movies. Gallo is also a recognized painter, male fashion model, musician, motorcycle racer and breakdancer
    Gregory La Cava (1892–1952), film director of the 1930s
    Jaime Ledesma (1973- ), film director, movie actor, producer, and disc jockey
    John R. Leonetti, director, cinematographer
    Matthew F. Leonetti, cinematographer
    Michael Polcino, animation director
    Robert Pulcini, film director
    Guido Quaroni, computer modeler and computer animation maker at Pixar Animation Studios
    Frank Renzulli, actor, writer and producer
    Lou Romano, member of the Art Department in Pixar Animation Studios
    Damon Santostefano
    Martin Scorsese (1942 – ), iconic Academy Award-winning film director
    Tina Sinatra (1948 – ), movie producer and former actress
    Quentin Tarantino (1963 – ), film director, actor, and Oscar-winning screenwriter
    Stanley Tucci (1960 – ), actor, writer, film producer and film director
    Maurizio Vasco (1955 – ), director, writer, independent producer
    Thomas Vitale, Senior Vice President of Programming & Original Movies for the Sci Fi Channel

    Too many musicians, singers and actors to list… Really, how can any group top Frank and Dino?

    Melissa Anelli, resident of Staten Island, journalist at Staten Island Advance and webmaster of The Leaky Cauldron.
    Maria Bartiromo, financial reporter.
    Joe Benigno, WFAN sports radio personality
    David Brancaccio, journalist.
    Harry Caray (1914–1998), born Harry Christopher Carabina, sports broadcaster, did play-by-play for the St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago White Sox, and (most famously) the Chicago Cubs. Cubs win! Cubs win!
    Matt Casamassina, video game journalist working for IGN.
    Danny Casolaro, freelance journalist
    Igor Cassini, journalist.
    Anthony Cumia, Anthony of the Opie and Anthony show.
    Rick Francona, NBC military analyst.
    Ann Nocenti is a journalist, writer and editor known for her work on comic books and magazines.
    Generoso Pope Jr. (1927–1988) was the founder of The National Enquirer.
    Tony Rizzo, sports anchor WJW-TV, the Fox affiliate in Cleveland
    Elaine Sciolino, Paris bureau chief of The New York Times

    Eugenio Calabi, mathematician
    Charles DeLisi
    Renato Dulbecco
    Federico Faggin
    Robert Fano (born 1917), computer scientist
    Ugo Fano (1912–2001), physicist
    Anthony Fauci, immunologist contributing to research in the areas of AIDS and other immunodeficiencies
    Enrico Fermi (1901–1954), physicist
    Robert Gallo
    Albert Ghiorso nuclear scientist who helped discover several chemical elements on the periodic table
    Riccardo Giacconi
    Louis Ignarro
    Robert Lanza
    Paul J. Lioy, exposure science
    Salvador Luria
    Fulvio Melia physicist, astrophysicist, and author
    Antonio Meucci telephone inventor
    Rita Levi-Montalcini
    Franco Modigliani
    Lisa Marie Nowak Born Lisa Marie Caputo Astronaut
    William Daniel Phillips
    Gian-Carlo Rota
    Jack Sarfatti
    Piero Scaruffi (born 1955) cognitive scientist
    Emilio Segrè Nobel-winning physicist and academic
    Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (born 1922) geneticist
    Andrew Viterbi
    Philip Zimbardo
    Mario Capecchi at the University of Utah
    John D. Caputo
    Frank A. Cipriani
    Thomas A. DeFanti
    John J. DeGioia President of Georgetown University
    Craig J. N. de Paulo Rector of the Collegium Augustinianum
    Frank J. Fabozzi
    A. Bartlett Giamatti (1938–1989), President of Yale University, later Major League Baseball commissioner (Italian father)
    Robert Gallucci Dean of the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University
    Lino Graglia at the University of Texas in Austin
    Paul J. Lioy, University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey – Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
    Robert Magliola Academic specialist in hermeneutics, philosophy, and religious studies; was full professor at Purdue U., then Distinguished chair professor at National Taiwan U. and professor of philosophy and religion at Abac Assumption U. of Thailand; pioneered, in postmodern philosophy and in Buddhist Studies, the mutual relevance of Derridean thought and Madhyamikan Buddhism
    Silvio Micali Professor of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, distinguished for his work on cryptography
    Fulvio Melia Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Arizona in Tucson
    Franco Modigliani MIT economics professor and winner of the 1985 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics
    L. Jay Oliva former President of New York University (NYU) and author of many books on European and Russian history
    P. M. Pasinetti professor of comparative literature and Italian UCLA
    Camille Paglia professor at humanities at the University of the Arts

    Mario Puzo, writer/screenwriter and best selling author of “The Godfather”
    Ken Auletta, writer/journalist and media critic for The New Yorker
    David Baldacci (1960–), best selling novelist; a distant cousin of John Baldacci, former governor of Maine
    Andrew Berardini, art critic and fiction writer
    Greg Berlanti, television writer and producer
    Giannina Braschi, poet and novelist
    Leo Buscaglia (1924–1998), Author and motivational speaker
    Duane Capizzi, screenwriter
    Lorenzo Carcaterra, novelist and screenwriter
    John Ciardi, poet and etymologist
    Angelo F. Coniglio, civil engineer, genealogist and author
    Gregory Corso, poet
    John Corvino, philosopher
    Lorenzo Da Ponte, poet,writer,librettist
    William L. DeAndrea, mystery writer
    Keith R. A. DeCandido
    Don DeLillo (1936–), author
    Guy Anthony De Marco, author
    Tomie dePaola, author
    Pietro Di Donato, writer
    Rich DiSilvio, writer, author of The Winds of Time
    John Fante, novelist and screenwriter
    Lawrence Ferlinghetti, poet, essayist and painter
    David Franzoni, screenwriter of Gladiator and King Arthur.
    John Fusco, novelist (Paradise Salvage) and screenwriter of Young Guns, Hidalgo, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
    Paul Gallico (Italian father)
    Daniela Gioseffi poet, novelist, literary critic, essayist, performer, social justice activist [1941- ]
    Arturo Giovannitti poet, political activist
    Barbara Grizzuti Harrison (1934–2002), writer
    Evan Hunter aka Ed MacBain born Salvatore Lombino
    Philip Lamantia
    Teresa de Lauretis
    Luis Marden, born Annibale Luis Paragallo, writer for National Geographic
    Fulvio Melia, author of several popular science books, including The Black Hole at the Center of Our Galaxy
    Charles Messina, writer/director of the play Mercury: The Afterlife and Times of a Rock God, the film Merging, and co-author the book My Father, My Don
    Diana Ossana, Academy Award-winning screenwriter
    Camille Paglia, post-feminist literary and cultural critic
    Christopher Paolini
    Michael Parenti
    P.M. Pasinetti, novelist, playwright, journalist, professor
    Mario Pei
    Joseph D. Pistone
    Diane di Prima, poet of the Beat generation
    Mario Puzo (1920–1999), The Godfather author
    Terry Rossio, screenwriter
    Shane Salerno, screenwriter
    R.A. Salvatore (born 1959), born Robert Anthony Salvatore science fiction and fantasy author, best known for his Forgotten Realms and Star Wars novels
    Leslie Scalapino, poet
    Piero Scaruffi, poet, historian, scientist
    Dom (Domenico) Serafini, T.V. trade magazine editor
    Michelangelo Signorile, journalist, columnist, talk radio host and gay activist
    Gay Talese
    Tom Verducci, sportswriter

    Giuseppe Mario Bellanca, designer of the first monoplane in the United States with an enclosed cabin
    Frank Borzage, first person to win the Academy Award for Directing, for Seventh Heaven
    Enea Bossi, designer of the first stainless steel aircraft and designer of the disputed first fully human-powered plane
    Anthony Celebrezze (1910–1998), the first non-native to be appointed to the U.S. Cabinet
    Geraldine Ferraro, (born August 26, 1935), the first woman in U.S. history to be nominated for the Vice-Presidency of the United States from a major political party
    Ella T. Grasso (1919–1981), born Ella Rose Tambussi Grasso, first woman to be elected governor of a U.S. state without succeeding her husband
    Giuseppina Morlacchi (1846–1886), ballerina and dancer, who introduced the can-can to the American stage
    Nancy Pelosi, the first woman in U.S. history to hold the office of Speaker of the United States House of Representatives
    Dennis Tito, the world’s first space tourist

  2. You mentioned Bart Giamatti, but none of the countless Italian-American baseball players?

    Nice to see Anthony Cumia on your list, though. Love that increasingly paranoid but still hilarious dude.

Comments are closed.