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Kitchen Proper – Restaurant Review

I’ve had many people tell me lately that Kitchen Proper in downtown Battle Creek is a must visit, so when a friend and I wanted to get together for dinner, I suggested we try it. They opened about a year ago, and since then I have heard nothing but good things.

We walked into the back entrance and were greeted by a lovely hostess who showed us to a nice little table for two.

As I looked around, I took note of the small, yet cozy space. It was only around 5:30pm on a Monday night, and already the restaurant was almost completely filled. The room seemed to be filled with mostly people coming from working downtown (lots of business suits) and one large table was crammed with what seemed to be a large family celebrating a birthday.

There is a large chalk board hung in the center of the room that lists all the specials for the night. My friend and I were immediately drawn to the WHIPPED MOZZARELLA for a shared plate to start.

It was an excellent choice! The plate was beautiful. There was a large portion of the whipped mozzarella in the middle of the plate, and it was topped with tomatoes, roasted red peppers, capers, and something crunchy, perhaps pine nuts. It was served with both a pita and some large crackers. The blend of flavor and texture was perfect. I could have munched on this all night. The cheese was creamy enough that it was easily spread and the veggies on top made it a little sweeter and delicious.

We both ate a good amount but had plenty left when the server came to clear the plate for our main dishes. This serving would be plenty for a larger party.

For our main meals I went with something from the specials board again. The TUSCAN HALIBUT was calling my name the minute I sat down. It was filled with all my favorites! The dish was a seared halibut fillet, served over pasta with capers and topped with a good amount of veggies. It was very good. One note, it was extra salty. I happen to LOVE salty foods so for me it was great, but if you’re a little sensitive to a lot of salt maybe choose something else. The Halibut itself had a beautiful sear and was moist and flavorful. I took about 2/3 of it home with me because I wasn’t able to finish much of it, only because I ate so much of that cheese plate!

My buddy ordered the SPAGHETTI. Her plate was very beautiful and vibrant. Their spaghetti is Marzano tomatoes, olive oil, garlic and herbs tossed with thin cut spaghetti, finished with Parmesan cheese. It was so yummy! The sauce was both sweet and acidic and definitely tasted fresh. They didn’t overdo it with too much seasoning in the sauce like a lot of restaurants do so you could actually taste the tomatoes. Much better than store bought. It had been awhile since I had a fresh homemade spaghetti and I would definitely order this when I return to Kitchen Proper.

We left with full bellies and a desire to return for more. They recently started serving Breakfast on Sundays, so I’ll be sure to return to see what inventive meals they come up with for that!

The ambiance is great. It’s small and quaint, and though it seems upscale, they didn’t overdo it to make it feel stuffy or pretentious.

My one and only complaint was that service was a little slow. There were only a few servers in the small space, but since most of the tables were larger parties, it slowed them down a bit. But their actual service was fantastic while with us.

The food is delicious and creative. A real standout in Battle Creek, and in my opinion would still be a standout in a much bigger city!

Elizabeth Precopio is a hairstylist by day and 24/7 food enthusiast. She visits restaurants in the Kalamazoo area and blogs about her experience at feedmekzoo.com

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