This past week during a radio show at the Palazzo with Ken Thomson I decided to try out the new Italian restaurant in the Grand Canal Shoppes.
If you have watched TLC’s television show “Cake Boss,” you probably already know who Buddy Valastro is. If you don’t, I suggest heading over to his new restaurant.
Buddy V’s Ristorante is classic Italian cooking. When I sat down and started to look at the menu I saw a dish that reminded me of my younger days back in Pittsburgh. Growing up in an Italian family food was always a big deal, and my mom’s favorite meal was Sunday Dinner.
Every Sunday Mom would always make a family feast for me and all my brothers and sisters; even long after we had moved out on our own, everyone would come home. And you can be sure part of the meal consisted of some kind of pasta.
My favorite was Mom’s rigatoni with her special sauce. It filled the house with such a great aroma. The secret to the sauce was always having some kind of meat slow cooking. The sauce would simmer on the stove all afternoon.
Whether it was a piece of beef or my favorite, a pork shoulder, it always gave the sauce so much more flavor. The bonus was when you poured the sauce over your pasta and got chucks of meat with it.
So as I’m reading the menu at Buddy V’s I see this dish called Valastro Sunday Gravy (Buddy’s family recipe). It’s like it was my mom’s pasta dish, so I’m pretty sure that’s what I’m going to order.
But when I go to a place for the first time I always ask the waiter or waitress what their favorite dishes are. He told me his favorite is the Sunday Gravy and said his mom always made this dish when he was growing up, explaining how she put all these different meats in the sauce. I started laughing and said, “You had me at ‘My mom.’”
The waiter set down a big bowl of rigatoni pasta with a pot next to it. Removing the lid revealed a pot full of different meats and sauce. There were two pieces of sausage, two meatballs, a big chunk of lamb with the bone and a piece of pork as well. This was one big pasta dish with lots of meat for the heartiest appetites.
This dish was as close to Mom’s as I have had anywhere in the city. I absolutely loved it and will be back soon. There were so many other tempting items on the menu I want to try as well, like the Bone-In Veal Parm Chop.
They have a signature dessert I will have to try but I will need to have some friends along to help finish it. They call it Buddy’s XL Lobster Tail, which is a large flakey pastry shell filled with custard cream and served with seasonal fresh fruit. I saw one go by and said next time we do that.
I enjoyed the Italian décor of the restaurant and the service was as great as my meal. I give Buddy V’s Ristorante a rating of 3.75 Forks out of 4.
Marco D’Angelo is the senior handicapper at Pregame.com. He co-hosts FIRST PREVIEW every Thursday at 10 a.m. on ESPN 1100 AM/98.9 FM. Follow him on twitter: @MarcoInVegas. Contact him at [email protected].