Spinoffs. The general rule is: approach with caution.
Something so promising on paper (Halle Berry in tight leather, for example) can go wrong in a hurry, as we now know
So what makes us so confident Merrill & Co. — the seafood-centric, retro-fitted new spot for food and cocktails from the folks behind JM Curley — won't disappoint in its new South End spinoff?
Two words: "Big Boys."
As in, the section of the menu that features healthy servings (serves 2-4) of pork ribs in red sauce, whole fish in cucumber dressing, or the unpretentiously awesome 32 oz. "Big Ass Bone-In Ribeye."
For that, you'll need the help of a couple hungry friends. Tell 'em to meet you on one of the black leather stools by the counter seats. Whoever arrives first can enjoy a view of the open kitchen over a first round of Fore Smoked Stouts, and tiger shrimp in xo sauce.
While waiting for your big-ass steak, you can discuss why more places don't serve cocktails with rum and thai chili aperol (like the Leviathan), and what the hell was Hollywood thinking with Hannibal Rising.
In the afterglow of your steak-crushing session, be sure to make plans for your own spin-off, which should involve returning with a date when the 30-seater outdoor patio opens for warm weather.