22 9th Avenue (cross of W. 13th St.)
Burger: The Fat Cat Burger ($7.95)
Burger: The Fat Cat Burger ($7.95)
Since it’s auspicious opening back in October of 2009 at its Meatpacking District location (a second opened in Rockefeller Center this year), Bill’s Bar & Burger has become quite a contender on the best burger in NYC landscape. Boasting rave reviews from a multitude of authorities on the burger scene, we unquestionably had to garner a vote of the now extremely popular burger palace. Bearing a Miraclean griddle (finger point to AHT for the reference) and utilizing the “smashing technique” which Shake Shack so famously applies, it’s easy to understand how quickly Bill’s was able to manufacture a contingent of regulars. Some have gone as far as calling Bill’s burgers the answer to Shake Shack, so justifiably, we were anxious to have a bite.
Our Expectations: The Fat Cat Burger. A 5 ounce, hand-pressed secret-blend patty care of whom else – Pat LaFrieda. Toppings consist of caramelized onions, American cheese, lettuce, tomato and dill pickles all on a toasted English Muffin. We went with what our server (and many reviews) called the best of the bunch on Bill’s menu, aside from the popular Classic option.
Meat: We sound like a broken record by now, but it’s hard to beat a Pat LaFrieda blended patty. We’ve tasted quite a few, but Bill’s deserves credit as being a quintessential world beater from the wildly popular meat purveyor. Nicely seared with a crisp edge and salty yet savory seasoning, the meat was awfully tasty. Though, with a smashed burger come some detractors. Namely, the temperature of the patty lacks accuracy and often heavily skews toward the medium to medium well side despite an order of medium rare. Still, Bill’s was able to produce enough juiciness to keep us content. However, we’d love a slightly larger patty, with 6-7 ounces consistently keeping us more satisfied.
Toppings: Nothing spectacular but we didn’t expect much with the commonly used onions, LTP (lettuce, tomato, pickles) and American cheese. Regardless, the cheese melted to our liking, coating the patty like a warm blanket. The onions were nice but quite greasy, almost to the point of overpowering the meat. A little less grease and slightly more crunch would make for a better addition.
Bun: The English Muffin is an admirable touch to Bill’s Fat Cat, and it provides unique flavor to every bite. It covers the patty naturally with great proportions and kept the juices intact as we devoured. Though, the muffins were slightly over done and a bit tough to bite through – making us question their freshness. We had the same problem with Royale during our review, and we know how that one turned out. In both cases it might have just been an off day or an aberration so we can give Bill’s the benefit of the doubt in this instance…maybe. As far as English Muffins go, they may want to check out Zaitzeff for the perfect muffin (Portuguese).
Bedlam's Bill’s Bar & Burger Judgment
Meat (47): Insane flavor and a beautiful char, the patty was the clear standout during our experience, an important factor in our rating system. LaFrieda keeps pumpin’ out the best blends around, and Bill’s blend is no joke.
Toppings (19): Just a bit above average with good cheese but fairly heavy caramelized onions. We’d like sweeter with more crunch rather than oily and somewhat too soggy.
Bun (20): Success in terms of bun to burger ratio as well as pleasant taste and functionality. The freshness and toasting execution was off though, so we hope to come back sometime for a better batch of muffins.
Ranking: 86 out of 100