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Table settings at NAOE, like the décor as a whole, are remarkably simple and unadorned. With little embellishment and a Japanese minimalist aesthetic employed throughout, they serve to let the food shine first and foremost. When you arrive at NAOE on Brickell Key just off the coast of Miami, you’ll be seated at either one of two tables or along the bar that faces the open kitchen. In front of you, you’ll see a small ceramic chopsticks holder (ours was a ceramic eggplant painted purple and mauve), a pair of bamboo chopsticks along with the day’s menu.
Water glasses are etched Mikasa tumblers, while sake is served in appropriately smaller glasses; beverages will be placed on black woven coasters. There’s only a single menu option at the Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant, which is approximately $160 to $200 per person, and includes a bento box followed by numerous rounds of nigiri sushi and dessert. The bento box is made out of light wood and fashioned into four distinct compartments where you’ll find seasonal dishes, most of which will be cooked. Some of these dishes, like the egg custard known as chawanmushi, arrive in their compartments in their own Japanese ceramic vessels. For the nigiri portion of the meal, meanwhile, chef Kevin Cory will place each round of sushi onto a dark wooden slab; you’re expected to pick it up using your fingers, not chopsticks. In case there’s any mess, you’ll be given a warm washcloth to wipe your hands.