Divey and decadently delicious – A Review of Bill’s Bar and Burger

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Bill’s Bar and Burger
22 9th Avenue
Meatpacking District
212-414-3003/billsbarandburger.com

Bill’s Meatpacking decor

Bill’s Meatpacking decor

Although only opened for about a year now, Bill’s, nestled on the corner of 13th street and 9th Avenue, looks as if it has been serving up their sinful burgers for decades.  The interior is cozy and divey, complete with red and blue checkered tablecloths, industrial looking lighting and kitschy murals on the walls.  However divey this bar and restaurant may seem, it still manages to live up to the pressure of being hip due to its locale in the Meatpacking district.  Young, attractive bartenders and waiters are the ones serving up your beer and burgers.
Part of the Bill’s allure is the increasingly popular alcoholic milkshakes that can also be spotted at the likes of Mel’s and BLT Burger (burgers and milkshakes, anyone?).  The sickeningly sweet adult treats come in inventive flavors like the Campfire (made with toasted marshmallows) and the Toffee Coffee featuring Kahlua, Heath Bar, and butterscotch.  Each will run you about $11.

Disco fries at Bill’s

Disco fries at Bill’s

I most recently came to Bill’s for a birthday dinner, and Bill’s happily accommodated the group of 10, which was a little large for the small space.  We tried the famous disco fries ($4.50), topped with gravy and cheese and the sweet potato fries ($4.95) to start.  Ten hungry girls gobbled them up quickly.  The disco fries were the winner for me, the salty gravy soaking into the fries and the cheese adding another dimension of salty, gooey, goodness, but the sweet potato fries certainly had their fair share of fans also.

Bill’s Burger!

Bill’s Burger!

I kept my main simple, opting for the Bill’s Burger ($6.95) (a cheese burger with special sauce) and an order of the onion rings ($5.95) to share.  The burger came out piping hot, dripping with juice.  The special sauce added a hint of flavor and kick to the burger, and although I probably wouldn’t want to dip my fries in it, I would have missed it on the burger if it wasn’t there.  I fell in love with the onion rings.  Thinly sliced and beer battered, the tender, golden rings melted in my mouth and I found myself having trouble remembering to share.

I also had trouble remembering that Bill’s is a part of the B.R. Guest restaurant family.  With glitzy counterparts like Ruby Foo’s and Blue Fin it was hard to imagine that the oh-so neighborhood-y Bill’s was owned by the same parent company.  Bills’ second location in Rockefeller Center seems a bit more appropriate with a more contemporary feel, which just goes to show that B.R. Guest knows exactly what to do and where to do it.

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Divey and decadently delicious – A Review of Bill's Bar and Burger

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Bill’s Bar and Burger
22 9th Avenue
Meatpacking District
212-414-3003/billsbarandburger.com

Bill’s Meatpacking decor

Bill’s Meatpacking decor

Although only opened for about a year now, Bill’s, nestled on the corner of 13th street and 9th Avenue, looks as if it has been serving up their sinful burgers for decades.  The interior is cozy and divey, complete with red and blue checkered tablecloths, industrial looking lighting and kitschy murals on the walls.  However divey this bar and restaurant may seem, it still manages to live up to the pressure of being hip due to its locale in the Meatpacking district.  Young, attractive bartenders and waiters are the ones serving up your beer and burgers.
Part of the Bill’s allure is the increasingly popular alcoholic milkshakes that can also be spotted at the likes of Mel’s and BLT Burger (burgers and milkshakes, anyone?).  The sickeningly sweet adult treats come in inventive flavors like the Campfire (made with toasted marshmallows) and the Toffee Coffee featuring Kahlua, Heath Bar, and butterscotch.  Each will run you about $11.

Disco fries at Bill’s

Disco fries at Bill’s

I most recently came to Bill’s for a birthday dinner, and Bill’s happily accommodated the group of 10, which was a little large for the small space.  We tried the famous disco fries ($4.50), topped with gravy and cheese and the sweet potato fries ($4.95) to start.  Ten hungry girls gobbled them up quickly.  The disco fries were the winner for me, the salty gravy soaking into the fries and the cheese adding another dimension of salty, gooey, goodness, but the sweet potato fries certainly had their fair share of fans also.

Bill’s Burger!

Bill’s Burger!

I kept my main simple, opting for the Bill’s Burger ($6.95) (a cheese burger with special sauce) and an order of the onion rings ($5.95) to share.  The burger came out piping hot, dripping with juice.  The special sauce added a hint of flavor and kick to the burger, and although I probably wouldn’t want to dip my fries in it, I would have missed it on the burger if it wasn’t there.  I fell in love with the onion rings.  Thinly sliced and beer battered, the tender, golden rings melted in my mouth and I found myself having trouble remembering to share.

I also had trouble remembering that Bill’s is a part of the B.R. Guest restaurant family.  With glitzy counterparts like Ruby Foo’s and Blue Fin it was hard to imagine that the oh-so neighborhood-y Bill’s was owned by the same parent company.  Bills’ second location in Rockefeller Center seems a bit more appropriate with a more contemporary feel, which just goes to show that B.R. Guest knows exactly what to do and where to do it.

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Bill's Bar & Burger on Urbanspoon

“Location, location and….” A Review of Nero d’Avola

“Location, location and…?”  -  A Review of Nero D’Avola

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Nero D’ Avola
46 Gansevoort Street
Meatpacking District
212-675-5224/
nerodavolanyc.com

I had wanted to try out Nero D’ Avola (AKA Nero) for a long time.  I’m a little embarrassed to say, but I’m a Meatpacking lover and the location sold it for me.  A few of my friends had also been there for various occasions and didn’t have anything bad to say about it, not to mention it was on the MTV show The City.  Don’t get me wrong, none of these things made it a credible destination but I decided it would be a good place to take a friend of mine from Miami.

Orecchiette at Nero D’ Avola

Orecchiette at Nero D’ Avola

We showed up without reservations and were seated next to the door.  Not ideal, but there really wasn’t another seat in the house.  The place was smaller than I had imagined, packed with twenty-somethings on dates, celebrating a birthday, etc., all dressed to the nines no doubt ready to hit up their favorite Meatpacking club after dinner.  [Read more...]

"Location, location and…." A Review of Nero d'Avola

“Location, location and…?”  -  A Review of Nero D’Avola

BY CAROLYN ONOFREY

Nero D’ Avola
46 Gansevoort Street
Meatpacking District
212-675-5224/
nerodavolanyc.com

I had wanted to try out Nero D’ Avola (AKA Nero) for a long time.  I’m a little embarrassed to say, but I’m a Meatpacking lover and the location sold it for me.  A few of my friends had also been there for various occasions and didn’t have anything bad to say about it, not to mention it was on the MTV show The City.  Don’t get me wrong, none of these things made it a credible destination but I decided it would be a good place to take a friend of mine from Miami.

Orecchiette at Nero D’ Avola

Orecchiette at Nero D’ Avola

We showed up without reservations and were seated next to the door.  Not ideal, but there really wasn’t another seat in the house.  The place was smaller than I had imagined, packed with twenty-somethings on dates, celebrating a birthday, etc., all dressed to the nines no doubt ready to hit up their favorite Meatpacking club after dinner.  [Read more...]

JoeDoe – part of the growing cohort of touchy chef-restauranteurs that push back

JoeDoe’s Joe Dobias is among the spate of chef-restauranteurs in the New York City restaurant world that are lashing out at restaurant critics. According to Eater, a Dobias is said to have railed against New York Journal blogger for critical remarks expressed in a review. Here’s a taste of Dobias’ gratuitous, below the belt response, courtesy of Eater:

“….when you kill yourself for a living like I do, it is very tough to stomach an angry little mans opinion. Who honestly care what you think and further how dare you and the other shithead bloggers. You made your snap judgement on one visit and further as I said you have zero credibility for writing reviews..stop your malicious bullshit and stop this site! YOU ARE NOT A FOOD WRITER AND WILL NEVER BE YOU NASTY LITTLE MAN!!…It is 9:30am time to cook brunch hopefully not for some nasty little bald men like you.”

Image from Eater.com

JoeDoe Restaurant - Image from Eater.com

Dobias much like, pizza-chef-restauranteur, Jim Lahey, who lashed out at Frank Bruni for a lukewarm review, is either plagued by massively detrimental anger issues or is wrongly convinced that self-inflicted negative publicity is a good thing. Dobias has even gone as far as formally banning photography of his dishes–the rule is purportedly printed on the menus. Glad The Gotham Palate was there to get pictures in February, when the photo-getting was still good. For the record, I’ve eaten at JoeDoe’s and not only enjoyed it, but also gave it a favorable review on this blog. See here:

But back to the backbiting chefs.

First of all: don’t these chef-restauranteurs realize when they overreact to these reviews, they are not endearing themselves to the public in any way? Nor are they hurting the critics. If anything they are affirming how relevant they really are. ey are only exposing their hyper-inflated, fragile and co-dependent egos. Is the restaurant business a tough racket? Unbelievably so. Do critics and bloggers occasionally issue unfair reviews? Of course they do. Do they warrant overly-defensive responses in the form of wickedly hostile and ad hominem attacks of the reviewer? Most defintely not.

If restauranteurs must offer any type of corrective to what they perceive as unfair criticism, they ought to consider taking a page from Jon-George Vongerichten’s rebuttal to Frank Bruni’s recent downgraded rating of his five year old, Meatpacking, Asian fare Mecca, Spice.

“I’m sorry that Bruni and his guests didn’t have a better time, but I make no apologies for opening Spice Market or any of my other restaurants. Like each one, Spice Market was conceived of and built as a stand-alone restaurant. In fact, it was a deeply personal project: I spent years cooking in Asia and ate at the fantastic open-air markets every night after work

Whether or not you agree with JGV, the response is classy, to the point and do not constitute the makings of a PR fiasco.

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From the 2nd. Annual Food Network NYC Wine & Food Festival

Outside of the Bumble & Bumble Theater in the Meat Packing District

Outside of the Theater at Bumble and bumble in the Meatpacking District

 

Panel On: Trends - The NYC Restaurant: Past, Present & Future with Chef-Restauranteur, Bobby Flay, Restauranteur-Publisher, John McDonald, Food Critic, Alan Richman and Publicist Jennifer Baum, moderated by Ben Leventhal

Panel On: Trends - The NYC Restaurant: Past, Present & Future with Chef-Restauranteur, Bobby Flay, Restauranteur-Publisher, John McDonald, Food Critic, Alan Richman and Publicist Jennifer Baum, moderated by Ben Leventhal

At a panel entitled “Trends – the NYC Restaurant: Past, Present and Future,” (see photo and caption above), participants hashed out their differences about their top five New York City restaurants -  Le Bernardin and Balthazar were among the classics that drew greatest consensus among the experts.

Each panelist offered his or her perspective on how the real estate bubble has redefined the restaurant business in the past decade and has contributed to the meteoric rise of celebrity chefs, the importance of architechtural design, blockbuster restaurants and restaurant and hospitality publicists. Bobby Flay helped translate the evolution of the restaurant business in recent decades into economic terms by sharing that it cost him $280,000 to open Mesa Grill in 1991. He acknowledged that to replicate the equivalent of that concept in today’s restaurant market would require a minimum of five million dollars.

Flay, who was as personable and straight-talking as he is on T.V., also gushed about burgers, fried chicken and the recent opening of his new Long Island burger joint Bobby’s Burger Palace.

All panelists agreed that the despite the glamorization of the restaurant business, the key element for success and longevity in the business is quality food.

There was also overwhelming consensus among them that the trends in New York City restaurant scene are pointing toward a proliferation of high-end Italian restaurants.

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From the 2nd. Annual Food Network NYC Wine & Food Festival

Outside of the Bumble & Bumble Theater in the Meat Packing District

Outside of the Theater at Bumble and bumble in the Meatpacking District

 

Panel On: Trends - The NYC Restaurant: Past, Present & Future with Chef-Restauranteur, Bobby Flay, Restauranteur-Publisher, John McDonald, Food Critic, Alan Richman and Publicist Jennifer Baum, moderated by Ben Leventhal

Panel On: Trends - The NYC Restaurant: Past, Present & Future with Chef-Restauranteur, Bobby Flay, Restauranteur-Publisher, John McDonald, Food Critic, Alan Richman and Publicist Jennifer Baum, moderated by Ben Leventhal

At a panel entitled “Trends – the NYC Restaurant: Past, Present and Future,” (see photo and caption above), participants hashed out their differences about their top five New York City restaurants -  Le Bernardin and Balthazar were among the classics that drew greatest consensus among the experts.

Each panelist offered his or her perspective on how the real estate bubble has redefined the restaurant business in the past decade and has contributed to the meteoric rise of celebrity chefs, the importance of architechtural design, blockbuster restaurants and restaurant and hospitality publicists. Bobby Flay helped translate the evolution of the restaurant business in recent decades into economic terms by sharing that it cost him $280,000 to open Mesa Grill in 1991. He acknowledged that to replicate the equivalent of that concept in today’s restaurant market would require a minimum of five million dollars.

Flay, who was as personable and straight-talking as he is on T.V., also gushed about burgers, fried chicken and the recent opening of his new Long Island burger joint Bobby’s Burger Palace.

All panelists agreed that the despite the glamorization of the restaurant business, the key element for success and longevity in the business is quality food.

There was also overwhelming consensus among them that the trends in New York City restaurant scene are pointing toward a proliferation of high-end Italian restaurants.

Share/Save/Bookmark Subscribe