Most famous for their unparalleled beer selection, Sunset Grill also features several barbecue items. The Sunset Grill barbecue team had placed very well in New England BBQ Society competition events last year, so I figured the food had to be pretty good. I already knew the beer was good.
If you like beer, you’ll like the Sunset. If you love the diversity, the history, the art, the pageantry and spectacle of beer as well, you’ll love the Sunset. This isn’t just beer as beverage, but beer as experience. There are over 100 beers on tap and another 400 or so microbrews and imports. There are vintage beer signs, posters, mirrors, trays and coasters displayed throughout the place.
As for the barbecue, my high hopes were for naught. First, the competition team with that name isn’t affiliated with the Sunset Grill in Allston. Furthermore, the babyback ribs were boiled and broiled, finished on high heat. These were falling off the bone tender, flavorless and covered with a nondescript sauce. The sides were not all that good and the cornbread had bananas in it. The Texas chili I started with had beans in it and tasted like Franco American spaghetti sauce. I did like the downstairs room with the low ceilings and TVs visible from every angle.
Some time after my meal, I saw the owner of the Sunset on Boston’s Phantom Gourmet TV show, and he admitted in an interview that the barbecue isn’t authentic, but rather a “Yankee” version.
The bottom line: for a great beer in Boston, this is the place to go. You won’t find a better beer selection or “beer experience” anywhere in or around the city. For great barbecue, though, head elsewhere. After SoulFire opened around the corner, I did a nice crawl, enjoying the beer-and-no-BBQ at Sunset and the BBQ-and-no-beer at SoulFire. If you want to do a crawl that allows sports viewing, White Horse Tavern a few doors down has the most humongous screens I've ever seen.