B.B. King’s Blues Club channels Southern cooking’s charm
By Brock Radke
Photos by Peter Harasty
Make your way to the back of The Mirage to find a great big slab of the South, compliments of the legendary B.B. King. The blues icon was born in Mississippi, but his music career began in Memphis, and his namesake restaurant, bar and music hall on the Las Vegas Strip is a hard-charging, finger-licking replica of the original world-famous stop on Beale Street in Memphis, Tennessee’s top tourist attraction since 1991.
This is the real thing inside The Mirage, a place where great music plays on deep into the night and great food is ready to satisfy your most soulful appetite along the way. B.B. King’s is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, and its different dining areas—some near the rollicking live music stage and others cornered in dark, quiet crannies—offer a multitude of experiences.
There is something for everyone on this menu, but you’re missing out if you don’t get a taste of Tennessee-style Southern comfort. So sure, start your party of a meal with a pile of nachos, knowing they’re topped with barbecue sauce and jalapeño cheese sauce. The recommended appetizer is the aptly named Soul Sampler, consisting of salty, crunchy fried pickle chips, fresh-cut and flash-fried catfish bites with lemon and rémoulade, and chicken wings tossed in your choice of sauces. Each of the elements on this tasty platter are crowd-pleasers.
Soulful soups are sublime starters, too, especially the Gumbo Ya Ya, loaded with smoked chicken, andouille sausage, crawfish and okra, and the famous Beer Chili, a long-simmered cumin and tomato broth with ground beef, bell peppers and a hearty pour of the restaurant’s own B.B. Brew.
At lunchtime, nothing matches one of those cold brews like a Good Ol’ Burger, an Angus beef patty with all the fixings, or if you’re feeling smoky, upgrade to the Hickory Burger, basted in barbecue sauce and topped with applewood-smoked bacon and cheddar cheese. Moving further south, there’s a crispy catfish po’ boy sandwich on a toasted hoagie roll.
For ultimate satisfaction, it’s tough to beat a classic barbecue dinner with all the tempting side dishes you can handle. Alongside a half or full rack of decadent, smoky baby back pork ribs—true melt-off-the-bone meaty goodness—choose baked beans, coleslaw, collard greens, white cheddar mac and cheese, cornbread or garlic roasted mashed potatoes. The King is pulling out all the stops. Opt for a roasted or fried chicken dinner, as home-style as it gets, or combo the chicken and ribs. For a beefy treat, check out the bourbon ribeye steak, an impeccably juicy 12-ounce cut fire-grilled to perfection and lacquered in sweet brown sugar and bourbon glaze. Don’t let them see you lick the plate on this one.
No Southern cookout is complete without dessert, so before the band hits the stage, finish off your meal the right way with a hot fudge brownie sundae, strawberry shortcake or the pick of the litter: dense, creamy banana bread pudding. You’ll never be as happy to get the blues.
6:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m. daily. 702.242.5464