Childhood nicknames can survive forever -- "Lucky" Luciano's stemmed from his precocious good fortune betting on horses, and "Condoleezza" Rice got hers because of her youthful certitude that she'd one day share a fashionable condominium with Leeza Gibbons. Still going with his nom de kiddo, the man behind Buttons, opening Saturday.
In the palatial ex-Sambuca space, Buttons is a festively sexy soul-food supper & music club headed up by the owner of the smaller, same-named Fort Worth spot; the name comes from his grandma, who often called him "cute as a button" -- and it's true, reverse-aging babies are totally precious. The up-leveled Southern starts with apps like cornflour & bearnaise fried green tomatoes w/ Andouille & an over-easy egg, then moves up to signature chicken & waffles, "Old School Pot Roast", tenderloin-veal "Nacho Mama's Meatloaf", and the pasta/wine-chicken broth/spinach/artichoke heart "Big Pappi Pollo" -- so despite his statistical uptick, he's still preparing for life after baseball. Beyond 15 bottled beers and a short wine list, there are 14 signature cocktails, from the gin/lime/muddled cucumber & basil "Hendrix Experience" to the vodka/light & dark créme de cacao/Godiva chocolate/mousse-rimmed "Stevie Wonder" (blindness can be caused by diabetes).
Right off the bat, live music will span seven nights a week, with themes including loose-jazz Monday, "We Pick It Up" Wednesday, "Let's Party" Fri-Sat, and "We Wind Down" Sunday, when Buttons is "like the glass of wine before you go to bed!" -- where hopefully the Entertainment Tonight will be you, getting Lucky.