NYC to Get L.A. Style Restaurant Inspections

I lived in L.A. for two years before moving to New York, and while I was there I loved the fact that every restaurant had a health inspection letter grade posted in the window.  This way you could see exactly how clean or dirty a restaurant was before eating in it.  Seeing an “A” was always reassuring, but a “B” would only keep me out of places I knew nothing about. For example, seeing the “B” didn’t discourage me from eating at Mario’s Peruvian or the Baja Fresh across from my office. Although when the Baja Fresh got upgraded to an ”A” I suppose it made me feel a little better about things. (I think since I moved away Mario’s was upgraded as well.)  I don’t think I ever ate a restaurant with a “C”. (In fact I probably only saw one or two in all the time I lived out there.)

But now that it is being reported that New York City plans on adopting the same style of inspections, I’m a little apprehensive.  I don’t think I want to see a letter grade hung outside Hing Won or Ying Du.  I prefer to keep eating at my favorite dirty Midtown Lunch places in blissful ignorance. I guess if it gives restaurants the incentive to improve their cleanliness, that is a good thing- but clean doesn’t always equal better food.  Ying Du was forced to get rid of their old (and no doubt disgustingly dirty) meat roaster… and now some have complained that their roast pork doesn’t taste as good.  Thanks a lot Department of Health. I’ll take dirty and tasty food over antiseptic boring food any day.

Photo courtesy of Spare Change

18 Comments

  • AS if small restaurants don’t have enough to put up with…..what with fuckwit critics in NYT et al. Now the DOH is effectively giving its own rating system.

    ALOT of very good places will close.

  • Rats shmats—-who cares– if the food tastes good!!!

  • the health department works on a quota so much of what they find is to generate revenue and has NOTHING to do with cleanliness. it’s a very bad system that just hurts the little guy. light fixtures that have been there for seven years can all of sudden be a problem. should that give a restaurant a bad grade? this is terrible.

  • My friend just ripped me a new one for liking this idea. She wrote:

    “… it’s a terrible idea that has nothing to do with the cleaniness of the establishment and ends up costing small businesses their livilihood. waiters suffer, dishwashers suffer. it’s horrible and you have no idea what you are talking about.”

    To see the comment thread, follow the link below:

  • Enough with this weak content. Bring forth the freak of the week!

  • You know, there are several schools of thought out there that attribute predominantly first-world digestive diseases (like ulcerative colitis, Chrohn’s disease, etc,) to over-sanitization… That detergents absorbed through the skin and digestive system play a roll in wearing away vital mucous membranes, causing digestive tissues to fail/become inflamed.

    So it’s possible that too clean = unhealthy. And that just maybe a certain amount of filth is good for you.

    So suck on that DOH. And thanks for nothing.

  • I am heartened to see that McBeagle is still presumably alive and well or at least his holding facility has internet access.

    I was sincerely hoping that he would not somehow become embroiled in the mayhem perpetrated by those hooligans in his hometown after their Superbowl Victory.

  • What’s this I hear? Y’all don’t like the DOH (i.e. big government) sticking their nose in like this? With you tax dollars?

    Enjoy the change you can believe in folks

    Maybe a letter to your senator….er….congressman….er….president….er…oh right. Well, hopefully some rat traps stay open until 2012

  • Hey DocChuck,

    How’s the Hyundai treating you? Those fabric seats aren’t too luxurious for your “wife’s” girth are they? Have you swapped them out for some gunny sack covered ones so she’ll feel more comfortable…. you know, like she’s back her pen?

  • …they need to use this rating scale with online dating sites like match and plenty ‘o fish.

  • My wife does not have an animal pen she has a play pen like Edith Massey in Pink Flamingos. Crackers where is the eggman? It is Doc and he has all kinds of eggs. They are all cracked and a bit runny. Must be from all that velveeta that causes anal leakage. You smelly arse.

  • DocChuck’s comments were a bit rambling there, and yet, not just a John Waters reference but a rather obscure one. Next, he’ll be quoting multiple maniacs!

  • I have mixed feelings about this. It’s good for consumers which is great. I don’t know how much it’s going to affect locals, but tourists will probably avoid anything below an A. On the other hand, there are many disgusting “Smiley’s” type places out there, and sometimes they’re hard to detect. Hopefully this will drive the filthy to clean up, and help businesses that don’t look great asthetically, but are clean get attention. Overall it’s a good thing.

  • The dirtiest craphole in Midtown: Bistro Desaret

    BISTRO DESARET
    227 EAST 56 STREET, MANHATTAN 10022
    212-207-8777

    Violation points: 109

    Inspection Date: 12/29/2008

    Violations were cited in the following area(s) and those requiring immediate action were addressed.

    Sanitary Violations
    1.) Other general violation.
    2.) “Choking first aid” poster not posted.”Alcohol and Pregnancy” Warning sign not posted. “Wash hands” sign not posted at hand wash facility. Resuscitation equipment: exhaled air resuscitation masks(adult & pediatric), latex gloves, sign not posted. Inspection report sign not posted.
    3.) Mechanical dishwasher not operated as per manufacturer’s specifications (time/temperature/chemical concentration); machine defective.
    4.) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained.
    5.) Ventilation system not provided, improperly installed or in disrepair.
    6.) Lighting inadequate. Bulb not shielded or shatterproof.
    7.) Toilet facility not maintained and provided with toilet paper, waste receptacle and self-closing door.
    8.) Food contact surface not properly maintained.
    9.) Milk or milk product undated, improperly dated or expired.
    10.) Canned food product observed severely dented.
    11.) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to vermin exist.
    12.) Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.
    13.) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.
    14.) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
    15.) Personal cleanliness inadequate. Clean outer garments, effective hair restraint not worn.
    16.) Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure not provided at facility. Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided.
    17.) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
    18.) Appropriately scaled metal stem-type thermometer not provided or used to evaluate temperatures of potentially hazardous foods during cooking, cooling, reheating and holding.
    19.) Cold food held above 41°F (smoked fish above 38°F) except during necessary preparation.
    Trans Fat Violations
    1.) The original nutritional fact labels and/or ingredient label for, or acceptable manufacturer’s documentation for a product containing oil, shortening or margarine is not maintained on site.

    http://167.153.150.32/RI/web/detail.do?method=detail&restaurantId=41286954&inspectionDate=20081229

    And #2

    TOPAZ THAI RESTAURANT
    127 WEST 56 STREET, MANHATTAN 10019
    212-957-8020

    Violation points: 101

    Inspection Date: 12/22/2008

    Violations were cited in the following area(s) and those requiring immediate action were addressed.

    Sanitary Violations
    1.) Other general violation.
    2.) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained.
    3.) Lighting inadequate. Bulb not shielded or shatterproof.
    4.) Food contact surface not properly maintained.
    5.) Thawing procedures improper.
    6.) Facility Design
    7.) Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.
    8.) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred.
    9.) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.

    http://167.153.150.32/RI/web/detail.do?method=detail&restaurantId=40394164&inspectionDate=20081222

  • Here’s another interesting one. Dishes on Park Ave. which is always packed isn’t the cleanest spot.

    DISHES
    399 PARK AVENUE, MANHATTAN 10022
    212-421-5511

    Violation points: 27

    Inspection Date: 12/17/2008

    Violations were cited in the following area(s) and those requiring immediate action were addressed.

    Sanitary Violations
    1.) Plumbing not properly installed or maintained; anti-siphonage or backflow prevention device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly drained; sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.
    2.) Food contact surface not properly maintained.
    3.) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
    4.) Cold food held above 41°F (smoked fish above 38°F) except during necessary preparation.
    5.) Hot food not held at or above 140°F.

  • Like I said before, carts are the vanguard of good eats in NYC. It’s simply not economical to serve affordable, quality food in a midtown storefront. Not a clean one, anyway.

  • here here

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