Sunday is a great day, especially if you are a brunch fiend, and doubly so if you have Jesus in you. Well, I qualify on one level, at least.
So I’m talking about the Gospel Brunch at the House of Blues, where the sum of $40 gets you an all-you-can spread and an hour plus of good gospel music, from an eleven-piece band composed of six musicians, and five enthusiastic singers. Praise God.
There are two times for the brunch, 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. You’ll line up, and be seated by a hostess, either at communal tables, or at smaller tables with those high stools that I personally cannot stand. The food is strictly self-service, and drinks are extra, other than free Mimosas. A Bloody Mary will set you back $8.
So the question is, given that we are in the land of buffet brunches, is it all worth it. Apparently, the public, mostly tourists, thinks so. We sit at a table with a friendly couple from Red Deer, Alberta, and an elderly pair from Ireland. These folks definitely find gospel music quaint. We’ll just say they can’t get it at home, and leave it at that.
I am, as you’ve already figured out, more focused on the food. And the food, by my lights, could have more variety, especially more Cajun fare for which this restaurant is known. Yes, there’s a spicy jambalaya, and a huge mound of shrimp with good cocktail sauce.
The bacon and sausage are also first rate, and there are biscuits and gravy, O’Brien potatoes, and loads of other fillers. There are spare ribs with barbecue sauce, too, in a huge tray, and though tasty, obviously a Tony Roma style baked rib, no Southern ‘cue here. Gumbo would work, too.
I’d also like some fried chicken. There is a tray of rather tepid chicken with a sweet barbecue sauce here, more oven baked meat (snore!) and also a huge basket of assorted random pastries, probably leftover from another venue. (Why is there one only chocolate Bundt cake sitting in a basket of muffins, sweet rolls and croissants?)
At least there is an omelet station-two in fact-so you aren’t doomed to subsist on overcooked scrambled eggs from the steam table (option two for your eggs). And there are pitchers of good coffee on the tables, so you don’t have to rely on servers to bring you any.
You’ll probably finish eating in a half-hour after being seated, and then the music starts. On my visit, the singers were called The Gastons, the band unnamed, but perfectly competent, and penetratingly loud.
The crown rose when one of the lead singers asked us to rise if “you have Jesus in you.” Being Jewish, with a Hindu wife, I stayed put, but felt like a protester at a ball park, when the National Anthem is played.
If I had had a horn, though, I would have honked. Jesus is just all right with me. Oh, yeah.
The Gospel Brunch is Sundays at the House of Blues, Inside Mandalay Bay. Call 632-7777 for reservations and information.
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