Where do I start?
With the sweet, friendly, warm, charming, cute, personable hot dog throwing hostess Wendy?
With the talented, creative, ambitious, delicate, calm, cool, meticulous Hideki Matsui loving (family is from Kanazawa too) dishwasher/general manager/chef Kevin Cory?
With the magnificent, delicious, unique, diverse bento box?
With the insanely fresh, rare, fantastic, superior nigiri?
With the amazing, unexpected, enjoyable, unique, surreal overall experience?
Or should I start with me emailing one of my dining mates the following morning and advising him that the experience felt surreal. Unbeknownst to him I was actually attempting to confirm that it really happened and wasn't some Ambian/wine-induced dream. It should be noted that he confessed that he felt the same way after his initial visit.
Or I could start with me stubbornly refusing to cancel my reservation when my sushi loving best friends flight was delayed causing him to be over an hour late. (I wasn't being completely selfish here, I knew he would really enjoy and appreciate the experience. It should be noted that Chef C was very understanding and accommodating plus it gave me more time to watch the master at work and drink more Sapporo)
Or I could also start with me pushing my plate forward the following couple of days hoping Chef Cory's nigiri would magically appear.
I had the opportunity to join fellow food loving bloggers/friends for my first NAOE experience. From the moment I was warmly greeted by Wendy and sat in my front row seat at the bar overlooking the precise work of Chef Cory I was completely blown away and mesmerized. I felt like I was transported to another place. After tasting my first piece of nigiri I spontaneously blurted out "I am ruined" knowing that sushi would never be the same. That was not an exaggeration. (I usually have sushi a couple of times a week. It's been exactly two weeks since my last visit to NAOE and I haven't had sushi since)
BASICS- It's located in a small strip mall in Sunny Isles. It has 17 seats with 5 at the bar. Seatings are currently at 8, 9 and Midnight.
Reservations are mandatory and obtained online via open table.
There is a menu but only for sake which are all produced by Chef Cory's family. They also have Sapporo on draft. The bento box is $26 followed by an omakase offering of nigiri.The meal takes about 2-3 hours depending on how much nigiri you opt in for. Tagging out is not recommended...
BENTO BOX- The bento box is divided into four compartments plus a soup. The box is includes so many flavors, textures and unique ingredients that all come together. It would be impossible to recall all of the different components so I received some help.
My first bento box contained the following:
Organic egg tofu with shirako sauce.
Kumamoto oyster with grated wasabi & soy-citrus sauce.
Komochi konbu (herring roe layed on konbu).
Simmered turnip w/walnut miso sauce on organic spinach.
Lightly pickled organic dandelion leaves.
Steamed fluke, yamaimo, organic carrots & kinome pepper leaves.
Fried; kisu (Japanese whiting) & gingko biloba nuts.
Parsnip roasted with karasumi (dried mullet roe).
Seared hirame, shiso and mirugai mantle wrapped in white seaweed.
Organic shiitake rice w/red pearlpickle.
NIGIRI - The bento box is great but it's the nigiri I crave. This is the best I've ever had.
Scottish salmon belly nigirizushi with fresh grated wasabi, brushed with shoyu.
Shiraebi (Japanese white shrimp) nigirizushi w/fresh grated wasabi & fresh grated organic ginger, brushed with shoyu.
Poached live Maine lobster nigirizushi w/fresh grated wasabi, brushed with orange-soy.
Marinated kohada (young gizzard shad) w/fresh grated wasabi, brushed with shoyu.
Aji (horse mackerel) w/fresh grated wasabi & fresh grated organic ginger, brushed with shoyu.
Mirugai (geoduck) w/fresh grated wasabi & white seaweed, brushed with shoyu.
Sea urchin roe w/fresh grated wasabi, brushed with shoyu.
Cantelope &with rice vinegar sauce.
Uji Gyokuro green tea.
Fresh homemade sweet potato mochi w/roasted soy flour.
Homemade organic honey kasutera (Japanese sponge cake).
Homemade matcha ice cream.
THIS IS A SPECIAL PLACE RUN BY SPECIAL PEOPLE
I WILL BE BACK SOON AND I WILL BE BACK OFTEN
175 Sunny Isles Boulevard
Sunny Isles Beach, FL 33160
( n a - o - é )