Would you leave an open bag of flour anywhere, but especially on the floor, if you had a rodent problem that had 180 pieces of dung sprinkled through your restaurant?
That’s the kind of findings this week at the 15 restaurants on our Sick and Shut Down list of restaurants from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach that failed inspection.
Direct your complaints about restaurants to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation, the state agency that inspects restaurants. We just read the inspections and tell you about them.
So, let’s get to it. In alphabetical order:
Asahi Restaurant, 9240 W. Commercial Blvd., Sunrise: Routine inspection, 20 total violations, seven High Priority violations.
And, we open with our bête noire, “In-use knife/knives stored in cracks between pieces of equipment.” In this case, it was “two cleavers between the fliptop unit and prep tables” in the kitchen.
Speaking of knives, an “uncleanable knife block was in use to store knives” at the sushi station.
Now to the 16 roaches, 13 of which were dead. One of the dead ones was on top of the dishwasher. Four were along the base of the wall next to the dishwasher. Five were under at kitchen handwash sink. Two live ones had a date on a container by the dishwasher. Another scaled the back of a kitchen cooler.
Somebody “washed a prep bowl at the three-compartment sink, rinsed it, and placed it directly on shelf without a sanitizing step. The sanitizer sink was not set up.” Which kind of defeats the purpose of a three-compartment sink.
There was “food debris and grease buildup under the main cookline” and “food debris on the shelf under the steam well.”
The inspector also hit this place with “non-food grade paper/paper towel used as a liner for a food container” because “standard paper towels are used in the bottom of containers of fried chicken, egg rolls, and rangoons.”
Asahi passed re-inspection the next day.
5th Element Indian Bistro and Bar, 5130 W. Linton Blvd., Delray Beach: Complaint inspection, 14 total violations, seven High Priority violations.
Nobody says you can’t go after Fearless Fly, but you can’t have “fly sticky tape hanging over food/food preparation area/food-contact equipment.” Nor can you have an “accumulation of dead insects in control devices.”
One fly escaped to land on cut melon on the buffet line, getting that melon hit with a Stop Sale.
Other flies, nine, landed on clean cutting boards stored on a shelf behind the cookline. Another five alighted on bags of onions on a prep table.
Who stores a “large pan of homemade yogurt” on the floor? The same people who store food “in a container that previously held a toxic substance.” As the inspector explained, “eight 5-gallon buckets that previously held chemicals were used to store sauces in the walk-in cooler and residential reach-in cooler.” All those sauces got poured out after being drowned in a Stop Sale.
A Stop Sale also hit the homemade yogurt, which needed to be 135 degrees, but was at 92 after being at room temperature all day.
The dishwasher wasn’t sanitizing.
The can opener blade, a food contact surface, was “soiled.”
This element got its table and kitchen in order in time for the next day’s re-inspection.
4 Brothers Italian Restaurant, 7323 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach: Routine inspection, six total violations, one High Priority violation.
The inside of a refrigerator had exposed insulation. Also exposed was the dead roach on top of the kitchen warewashing machine and the dead roach on a shelf with clean wares. An out-of-use flip top cooler served as a roach morgue for four dead roaches.
Live roaches, 25 of them, gathered in community in the wheels and on the ground under a 10-burner kitchen stove.
During the callback inspection, the Brothers got called out for four live roaches.
A second callback inspection got the restaurant back open.
Estacao Do Pao Bakery and Restaurant, 23269 S. State Rd. 7, Unincorporated Palm Beach County: Routine inspection, nine total violations, six High Priority violations.
Warm food and swarms of flies put Estacao on the list in September. Now, it’s warm food and live roaches.
But, first, a second appearance of the week for “In-use knife/knives stored in cracks between pieces of equipment.” The spatula and knife were shoved between equipment and the wall near the washing machine.
One roach was behind the front counter in the dining room. Another was under a bakery kitchen oven. Five were behind a reach-in freezer and another quintet got together under the dishwasher.
Somebody made roasted peppers with olive oil the previous night and left it out at room temperature. While that might work in Duluth, here in South Florida, the peppers and oil that needed to be under 41 degrees measured at 78 degrees. Stop Sale and into the trash.
Estacao passed inspection the next day.
Happy Wings and Fried Rice, 1752 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Pompano Beach: Routine inspection, 10 total violations, three High Priority.
“Observed approximately 75 rodent droppings on the floor throughout the kitchen.”
Observed rodent rub mark on the wall behind the wire rack containing food storage in the kitchen.”
“Observed live rodent crawling on a wire rack containing food.”
During the re-inspection, the inspector counted 25 pieces of poo on the kitchen floor and saw more rub marks on the wire rack.
The restaurant passed a second re-inspection.
J’s Kitchen, 196 N. Federal Hwy., Deerfield Beach: Routine inspection, 17 total violations, two High Priority violations.
Roaches and a shower of Stop Sales got J’s shut for one day in April. Rodents got J’s shut down for eight days spanning two months this time.
No soap at the handwash sink next to the three-compartment sink.
“Evidence of employee smoking in food preparation, food storage or warewashing area.”
“Ash tray with two cigarette butts stored on rack with food utensils by the triple sink in the prep area.”
The restaurant had a stored food uncovered in the walk-in cooler, a container of mushrooms on the floor of the walk-in and an open bag of flour on the floor by the back door.
More than 180 pieces of rodent dung were found. And there were “15 rodent droppings on an opened bag of flour on the floor in the food prep area.”
Two droppings were on a chair by the front counter. One was “inside a spoon handing on a prep table in the kitchen.” Two were at the front door. Another eight were on the “floor of the customer waiting area.”
More than 50 droppings were under a storage rack near the three-compartment sink in the food prep area and another 50 were “on a pan stored at the food prep sink.” The inspector counted 10 droppings in front of the three-compartment sink and on the floor in front of the cookline. Another 25 were in boxes, shelves in dry storage at the front counter.
“A cutting board was “soiled with food debris.”
Re-inspection No. 1, Dec. 1, three days after the original inspection: The poo count reached 50 with 10 on the floor of the dining area, another 15 on a front counter shelf and 15 more on a kitchen shelf with single serve utensils.
Re-inspection No. 2, Saturday: The inspector counted 29 this time, topped by 15 rodent droppings on front counter shelves and 10 in a utensil storage container that sat on a food prep table.
Re-inspection No. 3, Monday: After using Sunday as a day of rest and perhaps holding their bowels, the rodents marked their territory with more than 82 little markers. There were more than 25 under the triple sink, as well as under a utensil rack by the ware washing sink. A pan in utensil storage had 15. A kitchen food storage rack had 10. But, the customer waiting area had only two.
Re-inspection No. 4, Tuesday: Maybe the rodents began to migrate to an open restaurant, where the new food would be. A week-low count of 14 droppings included two in front of the cookline, two on the floor of the customer waiting area and two on the front counter behind the cash register.
J’s finally passed inspection on Wednesday.
Jimmy’s Diner aka Jimmy’s Place, 510 NE 125th St., North Miami: Complaint inspection, 17 total violations, two High Priority violations.
Earlier this week, we detailed the rodent-and-filth problems at Jimmy’s.
If a stink could be called “damp,” that’s the feel of the smell inside Jimmy’s. Before ushering a Miami Herald reporter out Monday, the manager said she didn’t know who was saying Jimmy’s had a rodent issue and claimed ignorance about any inspection because she’d been on vacation.
The rodent traps nestled against the building near the rustles in the bushes said somebody knew something.
After two re-inspections, Jimmy’s reopened.
La Bamba Mexican and Spanish Restaurant, 4285 W. Atlantic Ave., Delray Beach: Complaint inspection, five total violations, two High Priority violations.
One dead roach in the ware washing area and three live ones behind signs on the wall in that same area.
The wait station chip drawers had a “buildup of food debris/soil residue.”
La Bamba was back flying after passing inspection the next day.
La Nueva Honduras Restaurant, 1000 E. Eighth Ave., Hialeah: Routine inspection, 10 total violations, one High Priority violation.
The familiar “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine/bin.”
The cutting board “has cut marks and is no longer cleanable.”
But what took this Hialeah restaurant out of service was “water backing up from the floor drain located in front of the handwash sink. The drain is located in the middle of the kitchen...”
Of course, that led to “standing water in front of the handwash sink.”
Whether saved by plumber or plunger, La Nueva got back open after the next day’s re-inspection.
Living Green Cafe, 2202 N. Federal Hwy., Boca Raton: Routine inspection, 11 total violations, three High Priority violations.
The ceiling over the three-compartment sink was “soiled and dusty.”
The inspector saw a “2-ounce to-go container being reused to scoop tuna salad and feta cheese.” Those to-go containers do one job. They’re single shooters — once they’re finished with that job, it’s over. Trash.
“Soiled dry wiping cloth in use.” In the main kitchen, the inspector saw “soiled wiping cloths on all prep tables.”
Somebody “touched soiled apron/clothes and then engaged in food preparation, handled clean equipment or utensils, or touched unwrapped single-service items without washing hands.”
Flies abounded. nine of them landing on the front counter sneeze guard glass in front of the juice. Another nine were coming down on the dry food storage shelf. At the front counter, 11 flies flew around and landed on the wall above an open container of ready-to-eat celery. A shelf with paper towels and clean plates were covered with 13 flies playing there.
Living Green was dead dark until it passed inspection the next day.
Margarita Mexican Restaurant, 1100 N. Main St., Belle Glade: Routine inspection, 16 total violations, 14 High Priority violations.
One roached crawled on a wall next to a bakery mixer. Another seven walked behind the bakery area ovens where they passed eight dead associates. Another two roaches died under a bakery area prep table.
One cooler had fried pork made 13 days before the inspection. Another had tomato juice made seven days before the inspection. Cooked and stored food becomes a bad guest more than six days after fixing. Do what you want at home, but restaurants and food service places get dinged for letting food hang around too long. Stop Sales smashed both.
Somebody “handled soiled dishes and utensils from the dining area, then picked up plated food and served it without washing hands.”
Somebody else “handled raw beef and then handled ready to eat tomatoes while cutting. Tomatoes were to be served raw.” With no glove change and no hand washing (yes, hands are supposed to be washed before gloving them), the tomatoes got hit with a Stop Sale before somebody got E. coli.
The inspector fired Stop Sales, taking out too-warm versions of rice juice, green salsa, red salsa, raw bacon and habanero sauce.
Staff kept giving six bottles of green salsa and six bottles of red salsa to customers, then taking them back to the cooler, then serving them to other customers. That’s a no-no. Stop Sales for those bottles of salsa in addition to the ones that were too warm.
The re-inspection failed on seven flies, nine dead roaches and cooked beans, despite being in the apparently worthless walk-in cooler all night, still separated from a safe temperature by six degrees.
Margarita passed re-inspection.
Pei Wei, 11049 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines: Complaint inspection, 14 total violations, six High Priority violations.
Four roaches moved around the wall behind cookline cooking equipment.
As for the flies, five in the dining room kept landing on soda nozzles. The inspector counted 20 “landing on clean utensils and a table at the dishwashing area, which is next to the food prep area. Three flies landed on an in-use food prep table. Three landed on utensils and a cookline prep table.
The ceiling next to the ice machine had dead flies on sticky tape. The floor area next to the ice machine had standing water and water/moisture seemed to be the bigger problem at this Pei Wei.
The air conditioning vents and ceiling tiles had an “accumulation of black, mold-like substance buildup.”
“Objectionable odors” in the men’s restroom could be credited to a urinal that couldn’t flush.
The dishwasher wasn’t sanitizing, which will happen when the sanitizer container is empty.
Beef, chicken and shrimp, an trio of entree featured stars, each got tossed for not being kept cool enough for good safety.
Pei Wei passed re-inspection the next day.
PF Chang’s China Bistro, 1400 Glades Rd., Boca Raton: Routine inspection, five total violations, one High Priority violation.
This was all about the flies.
Five of them flying over cut lettuce, carrots, peppers and cabbage slaw. Three around a shelf with clean pots. Two flying around the prep table used for takeout. Nine flying around liquor bottles and landing in the handwashing sink. Five flew around the tea machine and bowls of cut limes and lemons. Seven kept coming down on to-go containers and clean pans.
P.F. Chang’s passed inspection Dec. 1 to get in on the weekend family-and-date dinner action.
Taqueria Tacontodo No. 2, 1100 N. Main St., Belle Glade: Routine inspection, nine total violations, two High Priority violations.
One of two Taqueria Tacontodo food trucks had to toss out its roasted onions (82 degrees, needed to be 135 or over), diced tomatoes (47 degrees, need to be 41 or under) and sour cream (54 degrees and sour cream stored at too warm a temperature is nobody’s friend).
But the bigger problem was “no running water available, in the entire mobile vehicle. Unable to provide water at the only hand washing sink and the triple sink.”
The problem got solved by the next day.
Wong’s Take Out, 8237 W. Sunrise Blvd., Plantation: Routine inspection, eight total violations, three High Priority violations.
Somebody lost a mop because the “floor is soiled/has accumulation of debris ... .throughout the establishment, behind the cooking equipment and tables.”
The inspector noted that not only did the hood in the cooking area have “an accumulation of grease,” but there was “an accumulation of grease and old food on or next to cooking equipment throughout the establishment.”
A cutting board being marred with “an accumulation of mold-like substance” indicates nobody took the time to run it through the dishwasher or take it on a trip to the three-compartment sink.
A reach-in cooler had “an accumulation of black, mold-like debris and old food.”
Rodents left 10 poop pieces under a shelf in dry storage.
Wong’s is back open after re-inspection.