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miami.com

THIS JAPANESE RESTAURANT IN BRICKELL HAS THE BEST SUSHI IN FLORIDA, WEBSITE SAYS

 

BY CONNIE OGLE

UPDATED MARCH 15, 2022 6:21 PM

 

Chef Kevin Cory of Naoe swipes Naogen shoyu (soy sauce) on shinko nigirizushi on a plate by artist Toshio Ohi. photographer Jeffery Salter

Chef Kevin Cory of Naoe swipes Naogen shoyu (soy sauce) on shinko nigirizushi on a plate by artist Toshio Ohi.
JEFFERY SALTER

 

Chef Kevin Cory, a Miami native, has long had a mission: to showcase just what Japanese cuisine can be outside of Japan.

He must be doing something right. His tiny restaurant Naoe serves the best sushi in Florida, according to the popular food website Eat This, Not That.

Of course, honors are nothing new to Naoe: In 2021, it was the only restaurant in Miami to earn the coveted Forbes Five-Star rating.

“We’re very thankful for the compliments and honors,” Cory said in an email.

Food has long played a part in his history. His family has been making Naogen shoyu (soy sauce) in Oono, Japan, since 1825. Cory learned the intricacies of Japanese cuisine from his uncle Yasushi Naoe, executive chef of Kawai Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn. In 2001, he took over the sushi bar at Miami’s Siam River, opening Naoe in Sunny Isles Beach in 2009 and relocating to Brickell Key in 2012.

Though omakase-style dining is popular in Miami now, Naoe was Miami’s first omakase-only spot. Before COVID, the restaurant served six to eight people per seating. Now, Cory says, he serves only four to five, a change he had been wanting to make.

“It was something I always wanted to do for a better-quality experience but didn’t think it was possible until COVID restrictions forced us to try it,” he said, adding that he expects to keep the smaller seatings.

There are two seatings each night, one at 5 p.m., the other at 9 p.m. Dinner takes between two and three hours, and kids under 12 are not permitted. The dress code is casual. The sushi is not. The menu is prepared fresh each day, so don’t ask for substitutions and be ready for anything from seaweed and shellfish to salt and gluten. “Omakase” means the chef gets to choose. You’re just there to eat.

 

Chef Kevin Cory and Naogen President, Junichiro Naoe. photo by Manami Naoe

Chef and owner of Naoe Kevin Cory serves sake to his cousin and Naogen president, Junichiro Naoe.
MANAMI NAOE

 

The pandemic has affected Naoe’s operations, including shipping and product availability as well as costs. Cory still uses his family’s soy sauce, but no longer exclusively serves Nakamura Shuzou sake. COVID limited the supply, so he supplements the drink menu with sakes from other breweries in Japan.

Naoe has long had a reputation as a hard place to get a reservation, but that’s because the people who want to go there plan ahead.

“Usually, half of our guests are from out of town and have planned for dining at Naoe weeks in advance,” he said. “The other half are often special occasions for locals who have also planned well in advance.”

The restaurant has added a wait list option on the website in case of cancellations. His advice? Reserve at least a week in advance.

 

NAOE

Where: 661 Brickell Key Drive, Miami

Price: $280 per person plus 20 percent gratuity and sales tax

Reservations: Online only at www.naoemiami.com

 

SEE MORE FROM THE MIAMI HERALD:

 

- THIS JAPANESE RESTAURANT IN BRICKELL HAS THE BEST SUSHI IN FLORIDA, WEBSITE SAYS - 3/15/2022 -

- FRESH FROM JAPAN - 12/13/2014 -

 

 

 

 

 

 

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