Monday, November 2, 2009

Naoe



I wrote this a year ago, so who knows if its relevant anymore. effers on me for losing my camera cable and not being able to upload pics...
Naoe

Hidden gem in Sunny Isles, overshadowed by the well known foodie spots--mainly Hiro's Yakko-san(future blog). I went to this thinking its going to be some normal to slightly above average meal. I guess there's a few things that should have tipped me off that I was low balling...

1) You have to make reservations. It's not cuz they are snotty or pretentious. It's simply because executive chef(the only chef)/general manager/dishwasher, Kevin Cory, needs make sure he has enough ingredients to feed you. He purchases his local fish fresh that day from Haulover, and any specialty items are imported from Japan.




2) They only have 3 seatings a night and there is only 4 tables and a sushi bar.

3) There is no front door- just a very unassuming sign printed with Naoe in sans serif font size 20.

4) There is no menu. Wait, I take that back, there is a menu! It is delicious and only has beer and sake. Food wise- no menu. You eat with Kevin makes for you-don't worry, it's good!

5) Real, fresh grated wasabi, and a family specialty soy sauce.

And so, I managed to squeeze myself into Mike's reservation and joined 3 others for the 7:30 seating at the sushi bar. There is no menu-so ordering was easy. We got a few bottles of sake(one of them tasted like a chinese dessert), and watched Kevin Cory work his magic.

Kevin literally prepares everything right there. While we sipped sake and chatted, he was slicing some fish(help Mike!) that he got a few hours earlier, deep fry ginko nuts and fish bones, and even roast his own unagi!

The meal starts with a bento box($26) which, for that night, included sardine rice, steamed custard served in a small pumpkin, fresh sashimi, tempura eggplant with a uni sauce, deep fried ginko nuts, deep fried fish bones, some tempura squid, a small broiled fish(help Mike!), and an organic pumpkin miso soup.
AHHH!! HEAVENLY! My fave was the tempura eggplant with the uni sauce. It was light and rich at the same time, the uni sauce melts in your mouth covering every inch of your taste buds with sweet decadence. The custard was slightly disappointing - as it seemed a bit over cooked. Pumpkin miso soup is a delicious palate cleanser and seemed to wash a warm wave of wanton peace over my over stimulated tongue.

Once you are done with your bento box, you can elect to participate in rounds of sushi and sashimi. Being at the bar made this part much more enjoyable. We sat, digested, drank, and prepped our stomachs for more rounds. The sashimi series followed Kevin's clock, timing each round with enough break to let the diner enjoy the round, reflect, and be anxious for the next round.
This is not a quick process, our entire meal took about 5 hours. Was it worth it? One of the guys was a vegetarian and decided to take a one night hiatus from his veggie vow. After his first round(wild salmon-help Mike!), he literally whimper and almost wept from pleasure.

I can't even try to describe how amazing the sushi was... but its a fresh as you can get, with fresh grated wasabi(not from a tube), and Kevin Cory's own family soy sauce. Beat that.

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