Sunset Alehouse brews up a fine menu selection

August 2, 2011

By David Hayes

Sunset Alehouse’s The National Champ is an eating challenge featuring nine 1/3-pound patties and nine slices of cheese. File

The last time a group of us dined at the Sunset Alehouse, we didn’t go to enjoy the food so much as endure it.

You see, its menu sports an eating challenge — The National Champ — which features nine 1/3-pound beef patties and nine slices of cheddar cheese between two buns. As delectable as two-thirds of a pound of Nebraska beef per person was, we decided this go-around to give the rest of the wide-ranging menu a sampling.

Opened by the owners of JaK’s Grill across the street, they’d like you to think of Sunset Alehouse as a more casual version of the steakhouse.

Bar food this is not.

The menu has a wide selection of appetizers, soups and salads, burgers and hot sandwiches, and specialty items.

From the hot sandwiches section, we ordered the Italian chicken sandwich. Sunset takes the best of an Italian meal — grilled chicken breast, mozzarella, tomato, pesto mayo and a balsamic reduction — and puts it all into one convenient bite between a toasted baguette.

It’s always refreshing when a sandwich holds up to that many ingredients, as the baguette held its crunch from first bite to last.

While the sandwich came with fries this time, it’s nice to have a selection of alternatives, including spicy Baja slaw, Italian pasta salad, or chips and salsa.

In the mood for a good hot dog, I spotted on the menu the Baja Dog, a.k.a. The Uncle Geno.

It starts with a solid foundation of a Hebrew National dog, wraps it in bacon — come on, everything is better with bacon — and is slathered with guacamole, pico de gallo and cream cheese.

It was a cool, refreshing change from the typical dog I get with just mustard and ketchup. But if I had my druthers, I’d add a few more jalapeños to the guacamole, as I like mine with a little more kick to it.

If I was looking for that jolt to the taste buds exclusively, I should have given the 3 Chili Silly burger a try. Having watched Adam Richman burn every last taste bud out of his mouth in hot eating challenges across the country on “Man v. Food,” I definitely have to give this burger a try.

If you go

Sunset Alehouse

  • 20 Front St. S.
  • 11:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday to Monday; 11:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Tuesday to Saturday
  • $4 to $9 for appetizers; $4 to $13 for soups and salads; $8 to $34.14 for entrees
Restaurant reviews are a regular feature of The Issaquah Press. Reviewers visit restaurants unannounced and pay in full for their meals.

With a bold warning on the menu to eat at your own risk, the silly sauce features a devilish blend of habeñero, serrano and jalapeno peppers. The silly sauce is also used on Sunset’s cheese steak.

Finally, our staff vegetarian was pleased to learn all the burgers on the menu can be replaced with a Gardenburger patty. So, armed with the knowledge that more is better, he ordered Cord’s Ultimate Double Cheeseburger, featuring two garden burger patties and three types of cheese (Tillamook cheddar, pepperjack and provolone). Once again, the toasted bun was the hero, as it held its shape, crunch and the insides all in place, from first bite to last.

Speaking of pleasant surprises, not many restaurants offer bottomless fountain drinks. Sunset’s waitress kept our glasses filled with each pass by our table at no extra charge. Refreshing.

So whether you’re up for an eating challenge, or down for a casual meal, Sunset has something to satisfy everyone.

David Hayes: 392-6434, ext. 237, Comment at

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One Response to “Sunset Alehouse brews up a fine menu selection”

  1. B F on August 3rd, 2011 4:48 pm

    Sunset Alehouse is the epitome of what great food in an alehouse should be. The food is no joke, atmosphere is chill, glass is always full with top notch service. Love Jaks, Love Sunset Alehouse. See you both soon

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