A Japanese jewel in Miami
Editor's Note: NAOE is temporarily closed. 

If you're visiting Miami's Brickell Key, don't pass by this gem. In this petite Japanese jewel box, only a handful of diners can claim seats. Chef/owner Kevin Cory and manager Wendy Maharlika treat you like a guest in their own home.

Maharlika holds down the dining room while Cory single-handedly prepares every dish that comes out of the kitchen. With exquisite food like this, you can taste the painstaking care that goes into every morsel.

Meals start with the chef’s omakase bento box and then proceed to presentation after presentation of pristine and tender sushi. Housemade barbecue eel is sweet and toothy, and comes topped with the chef’s own special soy sauce. A mystery ingredient in the signature ice cream makes for a surprisingly delicious end to the meal.
Our Inspector's Highlights
  • As soon as you step into the restaurant, you’ll be greeted by name and will receive a personalized menu. All of the staff members are exceptionally friendly.
  • If you’re looking for an intimate dining experience, this is it. Because the restaurant seats up to only five diners at any given seating, you will have both chef Kevin Cory and manager/hostess Wendy Maharlika’s undivided attention.
  • Though the menu changes daily depending on which fish is freshly sourced from Japan and local harbors, recent dishes included housemade egg tofu with uni and miso-butternut squash soup.
  • While seated at the hinoki (Japanese cypress) bar that overlooks the open kitchen, Cory will serve your nigiri and answer your questions about the meal, explaining how the uni (sea urchin) from Hokkaido differs from the uni from Santa Barbara.
  • Additionally, the restaurant keeps track of what each customer orders, so when you return to the restaurant on subsequent visits, you’ll encounter wholly new dishes.
Things to Know
  • Given that NAOE has only 10 seatings each week, you'll need to book your table online in advance. Should your desired date not be available, you may opt to join the restaurant's wait list for that evening.
  • A meal at NAOE lasts a minimum of two hours and will likely run two and a half hours, so you’ll want to plan your evening with that in mind.
  • The restaurant is only open for dinner with two seatings available at either 5 or 9 p.m.
  • Despite being a Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star restaurant, NAOE is casual, so you can come dressed comfortably and enjoy dinner without worrying about your wardrobe.
The Food
  • The menu is omakase, meaning that Cory chooses what you’ll be eating. There’s only a single option, which includes a four-item bento box followed by numerous rounds of nigiri sushi and dessert.
  • The bento box is filled with mostly cooked items that offer a variety of textures, flavors and temperatures. It comes with a small bowl of soup, and the restaurant tries to use as many organic and natural ingredients as possible.
  • Following the bento box portion of the meal, Cory will offer you individual pieces of nigiri sushi, which he’s brushed with his special blend of soy sauce. They’re meant to be eaten with your fingers instead of chopsticks.
  • For dessert, you’ll first receive a palate cleanser of fresh and organic seasonal fruit (one recent meal featured caimito, or star apple). Following this you’ll receive two slices of moist sponge cake and a quenelle of the restaurant’s mystery ice cream.
The Drinks
  • Sake is the only alcoholic beverage offered at NAOE, and it's required upon reservations. It has an umami flavor that matches well with Cory's style of cooking. 
  • The sake list carries selections from Cory’s relatives’ hometown, Kanazawa, Ishikawa. Sip Naohiko Noguchi Limited, whose bottle is designed by Cory’s well-known artist friend in Kanazawa, Toshio Ohi (Chozaemon XI).
  • If you see any sake from Nakamura Brewery, be sure to order it. That’s Cory’s family’s brewery, which has been in operation since the 1800s in Ishikawa, near Mount Hasukan.
  • The Five-Star restaurant stocks a range of organic Japanese green teas, which are also an elegant way to finish off your omakase meal.
Getting There
661 Brickell Key Drive, Miami, Florida 33131
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