The arrival of Buddy Valastro’s first restaurant and the subsequent opening of his first west coast outpost of Carlo’s Bakery has breathed new life into the obscure corner of the Venetian/Palazzo formerly occupied by First Food and Bar. Partnered with famed restaurateur Elizabeth Blau, they did a nice job renovating the former First Food space. It feels more homey and approachable. The interior may skew towards an over-the-top, typical Italian restaurant  with red and white checkered tablecloths and a panoply of picture frames, but there are cool touches like the light fixtures and use of rolling pins throughout. The place doesn’t reinvent the cuisine, but executes Italian-American dishes with a few subtle modern touches to create one of the better Italian restaurants on the Strip.

The eggplant parm app has plenty of great flavor, but could have benefitted from a crispier exterior. The dough of the aggnolotti was a touch thick, but the crispy texture from being pan fried was a nice touch. The sweetness of the sauce with the savoriness o the pork filling was great. The winner of the night was the huge brick sized portion of lasagna that arrived in a small cast iron dish. The mixture of proteins along with the boldness of the ricotta made for a wonderful combination that was only enhanced by the depth of a red sauce that any Italian grandmother would be proud of. For little ones, there’s a kid’s menu available. Among the items was a large order of buttered noodles that my kid loved. No meal is complete without dessert, and the nutella cake was a satisfying way to end it. It’s their version of a lava cake with a rich, moist cake enveloping a gooey nutella mixture. A scoop of salted caramel ice cream accompanied it with a brittle underneath that added a good contrast in texture.

The execution was solid and the dishes different enough from your typical Italian American joint to make Buddy V’s a good choice among moderately priced restaurants on the Strip.

4 Stars

The Palazzo
3339 Las Vegas Blvd S
Las Vegas, NV 89109
(702) 607-2355

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