Our main reason for trying Bennucci's Restaurant was that it is located in the building of the former Cork & Cleaver, which we had enjoyed during past visits to Kalamazoo. Of course we were not expecting a duplicate of "the Cork" but couldn't help making comparisons: The interior of this eatery was not as attractive and cozy. The front of the restaurant is a boisterous bar with closely set tables and a small stage at the far end where a solo guitarist was giving a good performance. That night the room was very crowed with birthday revelers. We could hear the celebrants quite well and the musician, not so well, in the adjoining room where lighting was not intimate or subdued. Overhead lights were distracting and too intense. I should have worn a visor. Carpeted floors appeared dingy. The seating was comfortable enough, but the table tops and arms of the chairs were sticky to the touch. Our server was knowledgeable a pleasant and did make a good effort. Food presentation was plain and perfunctory. The steak was cooked correctly, was flavorful, but not of top quality, which explained the moderate price. The chicken breast was moist, not overcooked, and so large that we took some home. The salads were very fresh with a generous quantity of good quality mixed greens, but the vinegary dressings were probably bottled by an average restaurant supplier. The blue cheese dressing was thin, tart, and had a timid blue cheese flavor. Wine and cocktail prices were quite reasonable. The manhattans the bartender made were excellent: the best we've had in the past year, including those from some very upscale restaurants. Although our dining experience was o.k., we will probably explore other table service restaurants when we visit Kalamazoo again. We do think that a pleasant dining ambience and attractive presentation enhance the enjoyment of the meal. Unlike the photo on the website, there were no table linens, which is why I noticed the sticky table tops.
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