Charlie Sheen may have texted a porn star that, “I’m an A-lister” but that don’t mean much when it comes to food safety.
Glenn Collins writes in the New York Times tomorrow that after six months of restaurant inspection grading in New York City, nearly 60 per cent of some 24,000 restaurants in the city have inspection scores that rate an A, from a liberal sprinkling in Chinatown to a true sanito-palooza of nine blue A placards in the food court at Grand Central Terminal.
Meanwhile, some of the city’s most highly regarded restaurants have struggled to get on the A list. In December an inspector disturbed the hushed precincts of Corton, which The New York Times gave three stars, to dispense 48 points for a possible C grade. Similarly, restaurant Daniel, the winner of four stars, received an initial B score of 19 in November. Even the haute Bernardin, another four-star winner, received a B score of 22 in August. Each endured derision from food bloggers for a few weeks before earning A grades on later inspections.
Fancy food don’t mean safe food.
Two other three-star restaurants — Le Cirque, with a score of 30, and Gramercy Tavern, with a score of 35 — were assessed enough violation points to earn C grades. On Dec. 7, Esca, another three-star restaurant, received 25 points on its first inspection and 18 points on a reinspection three weeks later. (The scores would earn the restaurant a B.)
If there is an apparent preponderance of A’s, it is not because the city is trying to be generous, said Daniel Kass, a deputy health commissioner. “There are more A’s at this point,” he said, “because the A’s get issued immediately.”
The mayor is expected to address the issue of letter grading today in his annual State of the City address.
But the Web site, nyc.gov/health/restaurants, shows that, as of Tuesday, 12,469 restaurants had scores that would give them an A; 7,892 earned scores that would rate a B; and 1,665 have scores that would qualify as a C.
Mr. Mazzone of Chicken Masters is expecting an inspection “any day,” he said, and is looking forward to it “like root canal.” What would he tell restaurants with a more complex menu array than his inventory of chicken, ribs and burgers?
“That’s simple,” he said. “They should move to Jersey.”