A stark contrast to its humble beginnings, today’s hamburger lives under the scrutiny of aficionados and critics. And now Stephen Hanson, one of New York’s preeminent restaurateurs, has voluntarily subjected himself to the scrutiny by opening a new burger joint, Bill’s Bar & Burger. The highlight of Bill’s burger is the patty, a special Pat LaFrieda ground beef blend made just for Bill’s. Pressed flat on the griddle and cooked to medium, the thin patty is crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. My sister and I shared both the Fat Cat (Bill’s patty topped with caramelized onion and American cheese on an English muffin) and the Bobcat (Bill’s Classic topped with New Mexico green chiles and jack cheese). The thin and juicy yet crumbly patties really hit the spot. I enjoyed both burgers but favored the Fat Cat because I love burgers on English muffins — the nooks and crannies capture all the juices. The regular sesame bun on the classic was a little too soft. But the Bobcat ended up winning my heart later when the subtle heat of the New Mexico green chiles finally kicked in. For a bar/burger joint that serves a simple menu, we reveled in all the options and found things that we liked, and the friendly staff made our overly long stay extremely pleasant! It seems that Mr. Hanson and Bill’s Bar & Burger will do just fine under the scrutiny of tough New York burger aficionados.