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:
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:
…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:
….and a veal Marsala:
….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.
BUDDY V’S RISTORANTE
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”
And then there are these Italian-Americans:
Mario J. Ciampi
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
Robert De Niro, Sr. (1922–1993) abstract expressionist, father of actor Robert De Niro, Jr.
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
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
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
Albert Ghiorso nuclear scientist who helped discover several chemical elements on the periodic table
Paul J. Lioy, exposure science
Fulvio Melia physicist, astrophysicist, and author
Antonio Meucci telephone inventor
Lisa Marie Nowak Born Lisa Marie Caputo Astronaut
William Daniel Phillips
Piero Scaruffi (born 1955) cognitive scientist
Emilio Segrè Nobel-winning physicist and academic
Luigi Luca Cavalli-Sforza (born 1922) geneticist
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
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
P.M. Pasinetti, novelist, playwright, journalist, professor
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
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
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.
Find one’s own path in life is exceedingly important. This is from Jung.
Looks delicious but probably not enough to cancel my Thursday reservation at Rao and go to this place instead.
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