Location: Boston, MA
The Foodie: Recommends
Thinking that this was some new retail clothing chain selling hearty American outdoor-wear (sounds like it should be, right?), I came into Merrill & Co. looking for sturdy shorts but came out with my stomach stuffed full rather than my cargo pockets.
The South End spot, which opened in March, is a bit of a collab-o between the restaurant group behind Bin 26, Lala Rohk, and JM Curley and talent from the latter of the three joints.
Their funky menu spans Asian-influences, American comfort classics and fruits de mer. The offerings are organized as follows:
- Raw Bar – oysters, shrimp, and ceviche
- “Jump Offs” – bar snacks
- “Lil’ Guys” – plates designed for sharing but many large enough to be enjoyed by one hungry Northeastern student. Largest section of the menu, so I guess that playing nice with your food is encouraged here.
- “Big Boys” – even a Tufts frat boy couldn’t handle something like a “Big Ass Bone-In Ribeye” with lardo and beef butter on his own. These guys are meant for splitting.
Let me lay it down for you in more detail – retail style.
We started the meal off with a nice dish of artichokes, king trumpet mushrooms, and queso fresco. Very rustic flavor and an inventive dish. Plus One for Merrill.
Next, we moved on to the octopus with kimchi, pimento, and burnt onion. The tentacle was cooked well with the right mix of tenderness, seasoning, and char. The ‘pus went better with the sauce of pimento/onion than the pickled stuff, which was more of a palate cleanser. Overall, a well-conceived dish. Another point for Merrill.
The classic progression of a refined French meal: artichokes, octopus, then mac et fromage. Merrill’s take on a classic dish included a light and airy parmesan-cheddar sauce over some nice little elbows and bread crumbs. Refreshing to not have a mac ‘n cheese that hit my gullet like a ton of bricks. In the end though, I was hoping for a little more flavor from this bad boy – maybe some funkier cheese like Gruyere and some added kick from some chives? Minus a point for Merrill.
Awwwwwwww yeah. Sliders. Juicy frickin’ sliders. Special sauce. Pickles. Melty Cheese. Delicious. Perfection. Making the Top 10 Burgers in Boston List this year. I’m certain. The guys here must have ripped a page out of the JM Curley burger handbook (currently the #3 burger in the area by my count) with this one. A home run for Merrill & the whole damn company.
Finally, the drink spread here is pretty decent too – I sipped a tasty Devotion Belgian Pale from Lost Abbey (CA). Though not my thang – they also have a large selection of sherry.
This was a fun night of shopping for my tongue, teeth, nose, and innards. We all enjoyed the meal. Though the menu is a little helter-skelter without really hitting on a core theme, the food coming out of the kitchen is quite respectable and worthy of your time and money.
— ESPECIALLY THE SLIDERS!!! —