A long time ago I gave a not-so-positive review to my first experience at Honey Salt just a few weeks after they opened. Many months later I was invited back for a revisit to experience the tweaks and changes they made to their burger. Needless to say it was vastly improved, and I have been back many times since. During one of my more recent visits the fantastic Chef Joe Z told me about the new burger at Buddy V’s in the Venetian that I had to check out. Since he was the man behind two great burgers and many more dishes at Honey Salt, I had to make my way there. It took a few months, but I finally got over there the other day to see if he was able to create another successful burger in a completely different location.
Buddy’s is located in the former First space in the Canal Shops at the Venetian; although this was a hotspot for Venetian employees, I feel like many locals never knew of this venue. I’m sure it has something to do with it being located in the heart of the most tourist-centric part of the property, where few locals ever venture. The overall layout of the space hasn’t changed much, just the finishes and overall look but it still works very well as a restaurant. There’s a bar/lounge side as well as a more formal restaurant side, both with some Strip views. For those that don’t know, including me, Buddy Valastro is the star of TLC’s show “Cake Boss”. I don’t watch a single food-related TV show, but for some the news of this restaurant was probably exciting. The menu features some great sounding Italian dinners and desserts, so initially I was a bit depressed that I was going in to try a burger but Chef Joe’s involvement made it a little bit easier to take.
Their Angus burger, which I believe is only served on the lunch menu, comes with a brioche bun, tomato aioli, provolone and Tuscan fries. This is the same great bun as the one used at Honey Salt; it is grilled, gooey, fantastic and proportionately perfect to the meat. And speaking of the meat, the patty has excellent beef flavor, almost steak-like. It was cooked to medium-rare in the dead center, maybe a tiny bit over cooked on the outskirts but that didn’t take away any juices or flavor. The heirloom tomatoes were great, the butter lettuce was great, and the aioli was a bit light on the portion but also good. I always try to find a great burger at a very non-burger centric location, this particular burger at an Italian-based restaurant is it.
The Tuscan fries had Italian seasoning and parmesan sprinkled on them; they were cooked well, seasoned just enough and were very good. Price is always a tough piece of my judgment; it’s sometimes hard to swallow the large markup for a Strip location when you’re a local, but in this case I’ll gladly pay the $15 price tag that comes with this burger and fries. I’ve spent more than this on and off the Strip for far less quality, so I’m certainly ok with it here. Chefs Joe and Kim succeeded again in crafting another great burger, and in one of the most unexpected locations.