Dirty dining in Vegas

A double dose of Dirty Dining, Las Vegas-style.

 Darcy Spears has a tie for us tonight, with two restaurants just two blocks apart.
Darcy: Hi… Oh!  Don’t turn around and walk away!

vegasIt’s a common reaction when Contact 13 shows up, health inspection in hand and full of questions.

Bund Shanghai restaurant on Decatur and Spring Mountain was hit with 36 demerits and a C grade.

Inspectors found visibly dirty food contact surfaces, old food debris on the can opener and meat slicer and a dirty ice machine. 

There was also heavy debris on the floor under kitchen equipment, a badly stained cutting board, and no hair restraints for food handlers.

“A lot of things I didn’t know,” said temporary manager Angela Liu. 

She says she’s not used to overseeing the kitchen staff and admits she didn’t check everything the night before their unannounced inspection.

Darcy: That’s a lot of stuff that was wrong.
Angela: Yeah, lot of stuff wrong, yeah, so, I tell them, you know.  I tell them and we now fix it–everything.

Inspectors also found a full handsink leaking dirty water.  And food in the prep table not protected from contamination. 

Angela takes us back to show us what is now a much cleaner kitchen.
She says the owner made it clear that he never wants to see another “C” grade.

Angela: If C again, they all lose their job.
Darcy: That’s it.  Everyone’s job’s on the line.

She shows us how everything is now labeled and double-covered to keep inspectors happy and customers healthy.

Darcy: It’s about food safety.
Angela: Yeah, food safety.  Right.  It’s very serious. Oh, my god. (she pauses to swat away a fly buzzing around her face.)
Darcy: You don’t want a fly in here, do you?

Thai Original BBQ on Jones and Flamingo was shut down with 36 demerits due to an imminent health hazard.  Inspectors found them operating without hot water. 

Employees called the boss and handed the phone to Darcy Spears.  The boss tries to say the only problem was a broken water heater.

Darcy on phone: Serena, it wasn’t just that.  That was definitely the reason that you got shut down as opposed to just getting a C grade, but the health inspection is four pages long.

For starters, the grease trap was leaking onto the floor and an uncovered drain pan was about to overflow. 

There was heavy grease build-up.  Most of the equipment was dirty.  And the knobs on the stove were caked with old food debris.

Floors and ceilings were dirty. 

Raw beef and chicken were stored over cooked noodles. 

And there was a fly infestation in the storage room.  You can see a whole bunch of them on a box of foam cups and crawling all over the ceiling.

It looked like a bunch of flies had hatched.

The boss says they weren’t having the pest control company visit often enough. 

She allowed employees to show us around that storage room and the kitchen, which appears to be all cleaned up.

Dirty Dining, Vegas style

Darcy Spears of KTNV Channel 13 writes there is a four-way tie for the dirtiest dining in Las Vegas this week.

dirty.dining.vegasAt Beijing Chinese Cuisine on Eastern and Serene, inspectors found pork blood dripping onto noodles in a loosely covered container, and mold-like growth touching crab rangoons and lettuce in the walk-in.

At El Santaneco on Maryland Parkway across from UNLV, health inspectors found the restaurant falsified time logs used to keep track of proper food temperatures.

Contact 13 discovered they’re misleading the public about their health grade. The A grade card on display is dated Jan. 21. But as of March 5, El Santaneco has a C grade.

An employee said there was no one in charge at the restaurant, but that’s one of the things that got them in trouble with the health district. They’re required to have a qualified food safety manager in charge on premises at all times.

The employee walked away, threw up his hands and gave no answers to our questions.

At DT’s Filipino Food on Rainbow and Warm Springs, inspectors found a food handler didn’t properly wash hands after handling raw meat. Containers of oxtail, cut cabbage, chicken and pork blood were all at unsafe temperatures.

Abyssinia Restaurant on Tropicana and Cameron where inspectors wrote up repeat violations for food improperly cooled and thawed. They also found a dirty cutting board, holes in kitchen walls and rocks used to prop up the freezer.

Also, the person in charge was unable to demonstrate food safety knowledge.


‘C? I haven’t seen no C’; Carlito’s Burritos in Vegas

Carlito’s Way should not be the theme for Carlito’s Burritos on Patrick and Pecos in Las Vegas, which came in with a 36-demerit “C.”

We got a warm welcome from customers, who said, “I love you, I love you, I love you but this is not the spot for Dirty Dining.”

carlitos-way-movie-image-1They were disappointed that their favorite hangout got a bad health inspection.

Milk that was almost two weeks expired. Eggs that were almost as old as the milk. They had to throw out tomatoes, cooked vegetables and green chile pork because all were at unsafe temperatures.

There was rust and mold in the ice machine. Soda nozzles were moldy too. Raw eggs, some of which were cracked and leaking, sat on top of shredded cheese.

“We’d like your side of the story to know what they found, why they found all the stuff that caused you to get so many demerits,” said Darcy Spears.

“That one, you need to speak to the owner, sweetheart, I have no comment. I came in and, I don’t know,” said the person in charge.

“You saw that C posted on the wall?” asked Darcy.

“I haven’t seen no C.”

That’s because it’s not posted, which in itself is a violation. Right above her, there’s an empty nail on the wall.

Closed for Renovations means closed by health department; Dirty dining in Vegas

The sign on the door says ” Closed for Renovations.” But on Feb. 7, Chow Mein Express was closed by the Health District after racking up 43 demerits.

Darcy Spears of KTNV explains they should be displaying the Health District’s closure sign, but that’s missing. And that means Chow Mein Chow Mein Express.vegasExpress is in even more trouble for trying to hide the reason for their closure from the public.

“Hello? Anybody home? Anybody in there remodeling?” Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears called through the locked door.

When inspectors were there on Feb. 7, they found an imminent health hazard.

There was “no working refrigeration” according to the health report.

Add that to the fact that just about everything in the place was dirty and you’ve got an easy recipe for closure.

Photos inspectors took show the restaurant hadn’t bothered to clean up spilled fried rice and chunks of meat on the floor.

Inspectors found most of the equipment was dirty–the oven, wok, food containers, utensils, prep tables, floor sinks, floors and walls–that pretty much describes the whole place.

Oh, and there was no sanitizer around to clean anything.

Employees weren’t washing their hands and it wouldn’t have mattered much if they did, because there was no soap at the handsinks.

Inspectors also found food was being prepared in the mop sink. And raw beef was stored in another sink next to dirty dishes.

Dirty dining: Great China not so great in Vegas

Darcy Spears of KTNV, ABC Action News, Las Vegas, reports the Grand China or Great China restaurant on Ann Road near Tenaya, Las Vegas, was on Dirty Dining a little over a year ago. And though they’re under new management, they’re back with even more demerits.

Great China was one demerit shy of closure with a 40-demerit “C” ktnv_dirtydininggrade.

Inspectors found a potpourri of moldy garlic, tomatoes, lettuce and melon.  All of it was in the walk-in fridge.

Sam Wong talked to us about what inspectors found.

Darcy Spears: Why would you have stuff in your walk-in that’s all covered in mold?
Sam Wong: Uh, OK, it’s in the back, maybe, you know, a little bit out of date or something like that.
Darcy: Stuff gets shoved in the back and that’s why you didn’t know you had moldy stuff in there?
Sam: No, we always check and if there’s mold we throw them away.

The garlic, tomatoes, melon and lettuce only got thrown away after inspectors saw it.

We also asked him why they were using a paint brush for food prep?

Sam: Uh, we… never get attention on that one.  It’s just a brush, a brand new brush and he said not a paint brush, it has to be food brush.  So we correct it.

Great China has been re-inspected and is back up to an “A” grade.

‘Sometimes the inspector, they get so over-inspecting’ Dirty Dining in Vegas

Darcy Spears of KTNV reports the Home Plate Grill and Bar and Oh’s Convenience Store Deli each earned 37-demerit “C” grades and narrowly avoiding closure by the Southern Nevada Health District.

At Oh’s on Swenson near Harmon, inspectors found a number of things out of the safe temperature zone, including tamales, chicken wings and egg rolls.

“We always do pretty darn good here,” said Mrs. Oh. “Really, really good here. But we have a new employee.  That’s what comes up, the little bit of problem we got.”

Mrs. Oh said they thought the temperature was fine where they keep the oatmeal, chili and fried rice, but inspectors say the fried rice wasn’t hot enough.

“If our inspector say it’s not, that means it’s not OK.  Because we’re not the boss.  They are the boss.”

Inspectors also found built-up debris on the soda nozzles. One looks like a rusty old car part.

“Sometimes they, I don’t know, sometimes the inspector, they get so over-inspecting,” Oh said.

At Home Plate Grill & Bar on Blue Diamond near Decatur, their grill’s 37-demerit “C” grade came from things like uncovered food in the fridge.  They also say chili verde was voluntarily discarded by the person in charge because inspectors found it wasn’t at the proper temperature “after 12 hours in the cooling process in a five gallon plastic container.”

When we stopped by, the owner wasn’t there, so we left a card, and ended up with a written statement from the owner, which says:

“We are a great family establishment and work closely with the Southern Nevada Health District to ensure the health and safety of our guests.

Equipment location & manner of disposal of a few daily drops of condensation water became a large matter in this recent inspection.  Upon notification from the health department of new expectations we immediately responded to their concerns and successfully corrected all violations and now have restored our A Grade.  This type of effort and company safety policies and programs also contributed to receiving an A Grade in the Buffet and an A Grade in Bar area, on a surprise visit December 17, 2012.”

The yuck factor at Home Plate came in the form of a month-old carton of buttermilk, expired containers of half and half, and the grease-caked top of their kitchen salamander–which is a commercial broiler.

Australia: Diners discuss disgusting dinners

The Age in Australia posted some crack-up, some gross, reader responses to last week’s "Tables of horror” story, found below. My favourite is Spoon discrimination.

Cockroaches ‘no surprise’
I had a terrible experience at a Fitzroy restaurant. The meal itself was very enjoyable, until we noticed baby cockroaches crawling all over the table, our plate and our food… When I finally did bring it to the attention [of the wait staff] , the waiter initially responded well by apologising and not charging us for the food.
Then he did something that simply made our blood boil: he starting defending it, first by saying that customers should not, under any circumstances, get upset at restaurants! He said we did not understand the food business and his restaurant career was littered with such stories. The building was old, he explained, and therefore cockroaches should be no surprise… The waiter’s arrogance was even more upsetting than the cockroaches.
-Steven Yatomi-Clarke, West Preston

Maggots removed
Four years ago my wife and I went to a well-known vegetarian restaurant and in one of the dishes the dates contained maggots. We discreetly told the waiter, so as not to cause a scene. The dish was removed, but what came back didn’t appear to be a new dish, just the old one with the dates removed. We were given a free mint tea or a free dessert, but no particularly sincere apology from the wait staff for this rather obvious breach of health standards. We have never been back.
-David Sheehan, Oak Park

Too tough for what?
We ordered a lamb curry at a well-known Indian restaurant and the lamb was too tough to eat (this occasionally happens even in good Indian restaurants). On complaining to the waiter, the chef came out to our table, stuck his hand into the bowl, grabbed a piece of lamb, tore it in two with his bare hands and said: "There, it’s not too tough!" We weren’t convinced.
-Michael Rowell, Ararat

Great, but for the worm
WE WENT to a place in Brighton that was recommended. We ordered fresh oysters. We had a few. A friend held one of the oysters, when a pinkish red worm crawled out of the flesh of the oyster, climbed up the shell. She screamed…
-Caroline Arman, East St Kilda

Spoon discrimination
NOT really a tale of horror, but bizarre standards . . . I was recently having a regular lunch at a city restaurant, and on ordering dessert was surprised when the waitress placed a soup spoon in front of me. When I queried it, her reply was, "We don’t discriminate between spoons here, they are all the same to us." There was then a pause, and she rather grudgingly asked me if I wanted her to change it to a dessert spoon — to which I said yes. I was made to feel it was unreasonable to use a dessert spoon! Have the rules of dining changed?
-Claire Mitchell, Northcote

Kitchen closed for cross-contamination

Shangri La restaurant in Phoenix, AZ has failed its most recent inspection, and it’s no wonder why, reports Phoenix New Times.

Raw sprouts were too warm. There was no hand soap in the employee restroom. Opened cans of food were stored too long. Boxes of raw duck were in the wrong place, as was a bag of carrots. There were soiled sponges at the hand sink, cooked chicken without a date, and the sink on the cook line was starting to back up.

Directly from the inspection report,


But that’s not Shangri La’s worst transgression…this inspection report underscores the importance of proper storage:


Inspection reports are available online in Phoenix, and the report for Shangri La can be found here.

UK takeaway pays hefty fine for unsafe kitchen conditions

Chester’s Chicken & Pizza in Blackburn was fined £27,000 after a March 2008 inspection found disgusting conditions in the takeaway’s kitchen. According to the Lanchester Telegraph,

On Wednesday Blackburn magistrates court was told the inspection last March found:
* Two dead cockroaches stuck to the door seal of the fridge, and more scuttling around the floor;
* Lettuce stored under raw meat, posing a “very high” risk of food poisoning;
* Staff did not have food hygiene training and had no facilities to wash their hands;
* Food was stored in unsuitable containers;
* There was no food safety management plan in place.

Executive member for regeneration and environment, Coun Alan Cottam, said of the establishment,

 “This takeaway was a serious illness waiting to happen and magistrates have reflected that in this very stiff penalty.”

A quick glance at Scores on Doors, a website in the UK to disclose inspection results to the public, indicates that Chester’s Chicken & Pizza received two poor inspections in Oct. 2006 and March 2008. The image, right, is a snapshot of the posting for Chester’s Chicken & Pizza, and indicates the establishment had poor hygiene, safety and structural compliance, with little confidence in management. Furthermore, the establishment received zero out of five possible “hygiene stars”, giving this establishment one of the poorest possible hygiene standards.