Naoe Restaurant, Brickell Key

Restaurant Brickell Key, Japanese Cuisine
(305) 947-6263
661 Brickell Key Dr Miami, FL 33131


At the age of 19, Kevin Cory started to learn Japanese Cuisine from Executive Chef, Nobuo Kase.  Nobuo Kase was experienced in Kyoto, the former capital of Japan where Kaiseki Ryori, the most sophisticated of Japanese cuisine is found.

Due to uncontrollable circumstances, Kevin Cory and his first mentor, Nobuo Kase were unable to continue together, which initially seemed unfortunate.

Kevin Cory:  “I was truly forced to figure things out by myself, yet remained on a path to express each ingredient's characteristics and the balance of a dish as a whole.  During the first several years as an inexperienced chef to have confronted many challenges without an experienced instructor and to have only followed an inherited philosophy became invaluable.”

After several years of self study, Kevin Cory traveled to Toyama, Japan to be reunited with his Uncle and next mentor, Yasushi Naoe, Executive Chef of Kawai Ryokan, a traditional Japanese inn with a reservation-only Kaiseki restaurant and formal tea ceremony.  Yasushi Naoe first worked as an itamae (head chef) in 1954 at the revered Asadaya Ryokan.

Kevin Cory: “I cannot even begin to explain the tremendous amount of respect I have for him.. But to try; with 45 years of experience and at 64 years young, my Uncle would wake up, do sit-ups, dumbbell arm curls, twisting, stretching, etc.  He would make us breakfast and then speed-walk to Kawai Ryokan, the hotel.  Once we arrived, he worked at an intense pace with incredible precision and passion.  After the lunch shift, he loved to ride his bicycle and let me mention, Toyama means Rich Mountain.

Later we would return for the Kaiseki dinner reservations.  His passion would continue to keep him running and sliding all around the kitchen and then speed walk back home to do more sit-ups, dumbbell arm curls, twisting, stretching, etc and then go to sleep.  This repeated daily.

After returning from Japan, Kevin Cory aimed to take the most challenged sushi bar, Siam River and transform it into Miami's best.  Of course first Kevin Cory had to earn the owners' respect to attempt such a dramatic transformation.  In late 2001, Siam River remodeled their sushi bar and allowed Kevin Cory to take control.

Kevin Cory: The timing to prove myself in Miami could not have been any better or more difficult, due to the biggest sushi names in the country, Nobu, Bond Street, and Sushi Samba had opened in Miami at this same time.  There could be no excuses to have bullied a weak market which made my mission to earn critics' respect even more exciting.

From Valentine's Day of 2002, Kevin Cory started the home printing of his all fresh dated daily Sushi A La Carte menu with signature dishes and 8 sake categories to be placed only on the sushi bar.  Sushi-aficionados soon gathered for what was considered, Miami's best kept secret.  Unfortunately, without having any previous positive momentum, transforming a negative image with zero advertising, zero public relations, being inside of an unstylish Thai restaurant thats in an out of the way location, the dramatic transformation did not immediately hit The Miami New Times.  Siam River was not recognized as The Miami New Times' Best of Miami for 2003.

After the disappointment, Kevin Cory emailed The Miami New Times an invitation to experience the difference of his sushi and was not replied to.  Several months later, The Miami New Times food critic, Pamela Robin Brandt anonymously dined at Siam River's sushi bar and wrote a Feature story in The Miami New Times December 25 - 31, 2003 issue, "Some Serious Sushi".

December 26, 2003;  The Miami Herald Weekend "Micro Rave" review of Kevin Cory is written by Hal and Nancy Berritt.

February 2004;  Siam River was 1 of 4 restaurants nominated for the category of Best Local Restaurant in The South Beach Wine & Food Festival's First Annual Award Ceremony, hosted by Emeril Lagasse.

May 2004;  The Miami New Times Best of Miami 2004 Best Sushi was awarded to Siam River.

May 2004;  The Miami New Times awarded two Chefs with a Best of Miami 2004 Personal Best. The Personal Best for Finest Foods was awarded to Kevin Cory. The Personal Best for Restaurants was awarded to Norman Van Aken.

February 27, 2005;  Kevin Cory with Siam River participated in The South Beach Wine & Food Festival as a Grand Tasting Restaurant and prepared:

"Simmered Live Manilla Clams with Homemade Rice Bran-Pickled Daikon, Salt-Pickled Apricot
and Shiso Leaf rolled in Blanched Fresh Wakame with Seaweed Jelly on top"

May 2005;  The Miami New Times Best of Miami 2005 Best Sushi was awarded to Siam River.

November 20, 2005;  Kevin Cory participated in the Consulate General of Japan in Miami's 2005 Kagoshima Festival for a cooking demonstration of Kaiseki Ryori.

December 9, 2005;  The City of Miami Mayor, Manuel A. Diaz and Commission Chair, Joe Sanchez presented a Certificate of Appreciation to Kevin Cory to pay tribute for creative involvement in promoting social and cultural exchanges between the peoples of Kagoshima and Miami.

January 2006;  Kevin Cory created exclusive catering and restaurant services, Kamakura™ & NAOE®.

July 2006;  Kevin Cory traveled to Kanazawa, Japan to reunite with family and discuss the opening of his first restaurant, NAOE®.

In the small town of Oono where the Kanazawa inlet meets the Sea of Japan is Chef Kevin Cory's family's shoyu (soy sauce) brewery, Naogen since 1825.  Oono town's perfect climate and high quality water create great flavor for shoyu.  Oono town has been one of Japan's premiere centers of shoyu production since 1615.

Currently in Oono town, there are still ancient wooden storehouses and kura buildings surrounded by old style shoyu barrels and ceramic jugs.  Crates of tall shoyu bottles sit here and there beside houses and factories.  Every street seems to contain at least one shoyu company emblazoned with a huge shoyu company mark. The Naoe family house is designated as a cultural asset of Kanazawa, Japan.

Shoyu is a fermented sauce made from soy beans, wheat and salt.  Another key element required is superior water.  Naoe shoyu uses Ishikawa prefecture's soy beans, wheat and rich groundwater from the revered Mount Hakusan.

Naoe shoyu is well-known for its fine taste and appetizing aroma.  The deep taste of Naoe shoyu matches a variety of local vegetables in Kanazawa.  It is said that shoyu contains over 300 components of aromas, such as, apple, rose, vanilla and so on.  Naoe shoyu is a main..... More information about Naoe shoyu is coming soon.

Chef Kevin Cory's secret blend of shoyu at NAOE® Miami is coming soon.