My diet usually consists of cruelty-free mushrooms and free-range lettuce. But there are dark times when a carnal lust unravels deep within my hypothalamus. During these moments, there’s just one thing that can placate it: meat. Specifically, the oxtail min at Nazo’s Restaurant in Wailuku.
Nazo’s is perched on the type of hill that would make a stick shift flaccid. Since I’ve got an aversion to flaccidity in all its forms, I usually park beneath the restaurant. The environment there is dark, and when you walk inside, you almost expect to smell cigarettes and see a worn-out detective nursing a glass of scotch.
It’s a small, cozy establishment; the seating capacity is a mere 40 people. The walls are painted as though a bottle of mustard exploded nearby, and the booth seats have been known to eat keys. This is definitely not the place to have an acid trip, but it is a very good place to eat.
I’m assuming that since their oxtail soup carries the title of “World Famous,” it’s the most popular dish on the menu. Even if the descriptor is a bit dramatic, there’s no question that people everywhere should familiarize themselves with the soup. The meat is tender and the broth holds a medley of green onions, bamboo shoots, mushrooms and, strangely enough, peanuts.
As long as you avoid thinking about where you find the tail on an ox, the soup is uncommonly delicious. In any case, the soup comes with macaroni salad and your choice of rice or mashed potatoes.
I love the soup, but my favorite dish is the oxtail min. It’s really quite simple: think oxtail soup, minus the rice and macaroni salad, with a tangle of noodles floating around in the broth.
To be honest, I can’t recall ordering anything at Nazo’s but the oxtail min. Well, I did have a few flings with the aforementioned soup, as well as a bowl or two of saimin and miso min (Nazo’s offers a wide assortment of authentic local cuisine as well), but when it came right down to it, they really didn’t mean anything to me. They’re great items, don’t get me wrong, but what’s the point of ordering something other than the house special? Or in my case, the house special with noodles? MTW