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Praise the Lord and Pass the Biscuits!

By John R. Bonds

Most church goers vacationing in Vegas don’t seek out a local parish if their trip includes a Sunday morning stay. But hundreds get a hearty dose of worship at the fabulous and unique House of Blues Gospel Brunch.

All the fun happens in the funky and eclectic HOB showroom at Mandalay Bay. There are 2 seatings, one at 10am and again 1pm. When we arrived at the box office a few minutes before the first feast, a long line snaked out of the showroom. As we entered down a couple dark flights of stairs, I smelled the distinct aroma of fresh bacon wafting through the air. Amid the soulful sounds of gospel music pouring over the showroom, we notice the walls here are covered with interesting and somewhat primitive artwork. Make sure your visit includes a stroll around to see these cool wall hangings. After settling into our seats at family style tables with “bottomless mimosas,” I asked a young server when the “live” music started and she told me “at 10:45.”

We begin to load up our brunch plates with a nice mix of southern and traditional American fixins. The bacon I now craved is “hickory smoked.” I also add a helping of red mashed potatoes, cheddar cheese grits, biscuits, turnip greens and a couple of slices of bourbon glazed ham. And although you won’t find the ubiquitous sushi or smoked salmon at the Gospel Brunch, there’s also a nice assortment of items for those not wanting to take the “southern” road.

All the food is fantastic. I especially like the bacon and greens, so I went to fetch more. My second helping also includes tasty chunks of smoked and blackened catfish and a shrimp remoulade salad that would make the French Quarter proud. Fresh orange juice and cranberry juice is lined up by the glassful and desserts include a wonderful banana bread pudding. The servers are young and friendly, with quick refills of our mimosas and removal of plates.

Finally it’s show time! As the colorful curtains part, a thirteen piece band and chorus is revealed. They start belting out music that soon has everyone on their feet and shouting Hallelujah! The performance is uplifting and highly entertaining and ends with dozens of people from the crowd up on stage bumping and grinding.

I heartily recommend that you replenish your soul and seek redemption with the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues! Ticket prices for the all-you-can-eat brunch and show is $39 for adults and $20 for children 11 & younger. The “bottomless mimosa” is an additional 10-dollars. Advance reservations are highly suggested. Call 702-632-7600.

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