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Miga restaurant in downtown Champaign offers modern American cuisine with Asian touch

Miga, the newest restaurant to open in downtown Champaign, eventually plans to offer karaoke and lunch but for now, it’s concentrating on dinner and late night drinks.

The restaurant the latest creation of Jin Park, who also owns the Sakanaya restaurant on Green Street in Campustown opened Sept. 5 in the space on Church Street just west of Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works.

Miga offers “modern American cuisine with an Asian touch,” Park said.

The entrees includes rib eye steak, chicken and orange glazed salmon steak, and noodle and rice dishes include Buddhism Bi Bim Bap and Soy Cream Louisiana Chicken Pasta.

There are also a variety of appetizers, soups and salads, including a sashimi salad. for drinks. Eventually, the restaurant plans to have a limited late night menu, said bar manager Nick Nakamura.

Miga also anticipates being open for lunch at some point, but that may not come until 2015, he added.

The new restaurant, in part of the M2 on Neil building, has an interior design featuring “industrial elements.”

Wood, brick and concrete play a major role, and black, gray and beige are the predominant tones.

Diners can choose to sit at a long wooden table with wooden benches or at smaller tales with padded seats.

There are also two private dinner rooms that eventually will be equipped for karaoke. One accommodates about nine people in a large curved booth, while the second room accommodates about 14.

Miga employs about 30 people altogether. Its executive chef, Jae Jin Lee, was recruited from the W Hotel in Seoul, South Korea.

The restaurant’s phone number is 398 1020. General manager Jennifer Kropfel said there’s ordinarily no need to make reservations, but they are encouraged for larger parties and on weekends.

Paul Edward Montador, who has been selling The Scotman’s Kitchen baked goods at Urbana’s Market at the Square, has now arranged for some of his products to be sold at local stores,
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including Strawberry Fields and Common Ground Food Co op, both in Urbana, and Curtis Orchard and Pumpkin Patch in Champaign.

Montador, a native of Edinburgh, Scoland, said he makes “traditional Scottish baked goods with a healthy twist everything is organic, natural and sourced locally.”

The baked goods include six varieties of shortbread, six varieties of tarte tatin and several types of chocolates. in 2010 for a six month stay. After returning to the United Kingdom, he came back to the United States in late 2011 and has been here since.

His business partner and fiancee is Anastasia Barrack, and they use a commercial kitchen in Savoy to prepare their treats.

The shortbread varieties include the signature flavor, as well as rum and raisin, vanilla coffee bean crunch, lemon poppyseed, chocolate chip and believe it or not chili cranberry.

Two bar bags are being sold at Strawberry Fields and Curtis Orchard, while six bar gift boxes are available at Common Ground.

The tarte tatin which Montador describes as an upside down fruit tart is available in apple and cinnamon, peach and rum, peach and brandy, strawberry rhubarb, kiwi and mango and apple and raspberry. Those are sold individually.

The chocolates include “coconut munro” and “brandy mont d’or.” Both names have personal meaning to the chef.

The latter meaning “mountain of gold” is also a play on his last name, while “munro” refers to a large Scottish hill.

“If you climb a hill of a certain height, they say, ‘You’ve bagged a munro,'” Montador said. “I’ve bagged four of them.”

The chocolates are usually sold in bags of four and are sold at Curtis Orchard, he added.

Montador said he’s working on a couple new chocolate concoctions: a Blarney Stone chocolate made with Baileys Irish Cream and green coconut that looks like moss, and Angel Share chocolates made with Scotch whisky.

Montador and Barrack try to include a little Scottish wit and wisdom on the shortbread boxes, which include “The Musings of Sir Eddy” a doff of the tam to Montador’s dad.
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