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Nov 1, 2009 04:03 AM

Bill's Bar & Burger: OMG I Agree with Alan Richman (Sort Of)

I am not a violent man. But Alan Richman's sacreligious attacks in GQ and Bloomberg on my favorite venerable eating institutions (New Orleans, NYC pizza, Katz's and most recently Peter Luger's) provokes such anger and fury in me that I don't know what would happen if I ever actually bumped into him.
So now I'm horrified that I have to agree with him about Bill's Bar & Burger and disagree with my most respected food blogger/critics Adam "A Hamburger Today" Kuban and Josh "Feedbag" Ozersky who praised BB&B. I found the burger a bit dry and overcooked as a result of the spatula pressed cooking method. Though it reminded me a bit of the unorthodox flat burger I love at Veselka (justly praised by Ozersky), it was a pale imitation with total disregard for temperature. The chocolate malted tasted more of the malt balls they garnished it with rather than Horlick's malt powder and the disco fries (fries with gravy and cheez whiz) were like the bastard spawn of a philly cheese steak and poutine. Of course, Richman then turns his venom towards questioning Adam's and Josh's integrity and knowledge of burgers. Richman hails from Philly, so perhaps I'll shortly have my revenge courtesy of the Yankees.

Bill's Bar & Burger
22 9th Ave, New York, NY 10014

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  1. Indignation is a vastly underrated emotion. I really enjoyed this post. Besides, ANYONE knows that pressing a burger patty on a hot grille just totally ruins it.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Tripeler

      "ANYONE knows that pressing a burger patty on a hot grille just totally ruins it."

      Shack Shack makes an OK burger with method lol..

      1. re: Cpalms

        The reason diners smash down their burgers as flat as possible is to make them cook in the shortest possible time. The unfortunate byproduct of this trick is that it squeezes the juices out of the meat. The thinness of the patty and the cooking method produces dry, well done burgers. To me, this is not a good thing.

        I met one of the LaFrieda clan at his burger restaurant in New Jersey. None of those thin burgers for them - theirs were in the pub burger style you see at Minetta Tavern and Waterfront Ale House. We talked for 15 minutes; he was a zealot about the quality of La Frieda meat. It must kill them to supply it to these burger joints and see them squash it down and cook it to death. It would be like writing a symphony and having people play it on kazoos.

        Minetta Tavern
        113 MacDougal St, New York, NY 10012

        Waterfront Ale House
        540 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10016

        1. re: Bob Martinez

          Shack Shack ain't a diner and their smash technique produces a plenty juicy burger...The technique is to add crust to the burger not to quickly cook it....And I don't think having Danny Meyer and other smashers as clients kills these guys whatsoever, in fact I think it is quite to the contrary....check out the video...

    2. agreed, best post i've read on here in a while. although i must say, i thoroughly enjoyed Bill's. greasy, dirty and awesome... it's definitely a different kind of burger than some of the more recent, expensive chef masterpieces, but when you're hungover on a sunday the Sunset & Vine is an ideal cure. Their take on an in'n'out, good stuff. Fries weren't great but the onion rings and oreo milkshake made up for it.

      1 Reply
      1. re: iFat

        Make me eat that gray dried out abomination. I dare you.

      2. We were there just last night and weren't impressed at all!

        My strawberry shake was okay, nothing special about it though. My husband had the draft root beer and it didn't even have a head!

        We both ordered the Sunset & Vine and felt it had nowhere near enough flavor. I was expecting a slightly crispy, salty patty. It just wasn't in the cards! The entire sandwich was somewhat mushy. I'm not sure if it was because of the tomato or what. And my lettuce was more white than green

        We split the Disco Fries and both thought they were good, but again, nothing life changing. They were however, probably the best part of our meal.

        I'll take Shake Shack or even Five Guys over this mess any day! No need for a second trip to Bill's. There are already too many great burgers in this city!

        1. while i havent been, the AHT review made me want to go asap...but then i remember steve hanson is involved.

          i dont know what to believe now...i guess ill have to bite the burger bullet.

          1 Reply
          1. The Burger at Bill's is very good. It was moist & dripping. We asked for it to be made a little less than done & it was pink and delicious. hated the fries, loved the fried veggis & the shake was tasty. the hotdog was too salty & tasted like Hebrew National ( Hatfield Farms I think they said), but the bun was good until it disintergrated under the weight of the saurkraut & relish.