Guam's Asian Sunset Grill offers BBQ, burgers and great view
Asan Sunset Grill sums up Guam pretty well: rough around the edges but also beautiful and full of nachos.
OK, so that last part doesn’t quite fit Guam as a whole.
But whenever I come to the island, thoughts of Sunset Grill’s Redneck Nachos cloud my brain until I give in to the chips, the cheese and that slow-cooked pulled pork topping it all.
The restaurant is far from Guam’s tourist trail and easy to drive past if you’re not looking for it. It’s tucked in the back of a nondescript concrete slab building.
A heavy rain left a large puddle to walk around to get to the entrance. I wasn’t sure whether the restaurant was open on an early afternoon until asking a guy sitting on a nearby step.
Those first impressions give way quickly upon entering the patio-style bar and grill, because Sunset Grill didn’t pick its name out of a hat.
The garden running along the side tables frames a vast expanse of azure ocean. There are a lot of Sunset Grills in the world, but there can’t be many that beat this one for a sunset. This is a tropical island with plenty of gorgeous views, so that in itself isn’t enough for a bar and grill to survive.
It’s remained popular with locals and sailors from the Navy base, which is about 15 minutes away, because it puts a lot of effort into doing just a few dishes in different ways.
The barbecue gets the low ’n’ slow treatment, spending up to 12 hours in the smoker sitting nearby. The pulled pork, brisket and chicken come as platters or sandwiches with one side dish, ranging from $12-$14.50.
Tastes in barbecue are fraught with regional allegiances, particularly in the South (the mainland south; southern Guam has its own vibe, but that’s a different story.)
For me, little on Earth matches Texas brisket, sliced thick with a crust the color of a meteorite.
This brisket isn’t that. It’s a half-pound of pulled brisket, heavy on fat, in a bowl with a side. It spent a plenty of time on the grill, I’ll give it that.
My personal bar for pulled pork is a little lower — tender, smoky and flavorful will do just fine. Sunset Grill’s pulled pork is good enough to lead to a conundrum when it comes to the vaunted Redneck Nachos. The baseline nachos come with pork and the house queso sauce, but if I’m taking a break from a generally healthy diet, I’m not going halfway.
The choice for me comes down to the Redneck Works, which comes with avocado, sour cream, jalapeno and salsa, or the Redneck Double-Double, which piles on pork and goes queso loco. You can order the Double and Works, but $22 is hard for me to justify on nachos at my pay grade.
I went with the Double-Double on the strength of the pork this time around, with no regrets.
The other main dishes available are the quesadillas, burgers and pizzas from a wood-fired oven. After the nachos experience, I split a generously sized Dre Burger, along with a side order of Cajun-style red beans and rice.
The Dre comes rubbed in barbecue spice and topped with pizza cheese on a grilled bun. If you like burgers cooked somewhere between waved over an oven and medium, this is the one to eat.
ASAN SUNSET GRILL
Location: Marine Corps Drive, Asan, Guam. Just after the Harley Davidson dealership heading north on Marine Corps Drive in Asan. A minute’s drive past Adelup Park heading south.
Hours: The kitchen is open 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; the bar is open until midnight.
Prices: Barbecue and burgers cost $12-15; whole pizzas $15-$22; beer discounts at weekday happy hour
Dress: T-shirt and shorts will do.
Information: 671-472-3202; http://theguamguide.com/sunset-grill