Restaurant News & Reviews

Restaurants caught with dirty hands in your food

Several South Florida restaurants have been cited for lack of hand-washing.
Several South Florida restaurants have been cited for lack of hand-washing. Miami Herald File

State inspectors don’t require seeing vermin or vermin droppings to shut down a restaurant. Avoiding the Rodent Report or Roach Report doesn’t preclude being filthy, fertile ground for foodborne illnesses and germs.

So, just as many a church compiles a Sick and Shut-In List to let you know folks who could use a visitor, we’ve compiled a Gross and Shut Down List. They too, could use a visitor. Especially if that visitor brings cleaning supplies. And maybe a hazmat suit.

READ MORE: Go to the Dining Adviser for reviews and inspection reports

These are the Miami-Dade and Broward restaurants shut down last week for something other than rodents and roaches, in alphabetical order:

▪ Hong Kong Cafe, 6757 SW 40th St., West Miami-Dade. Among the 36 violations on March 5, there was only one High Priority no-no, for sewage/wastewater backing up through the floor drains. “Observed water with a strong smell and debris coming from floor drain in cook line area when hand sink and three-compartment sink are in use.” That’s no surprise as among the Intermediate and Basic violations was “Plumbing system in disrepair.” That leads to “No hot running water at three-compartment sink” and “Hot water not provided/shut off at employee handwash sink.” When the water is not running properly, here’s what other cleanliness failures can happen: “Soil residue in food storage containers;” “Slicer blade guard soiled with old food debris;” “Interior of microwave soiled with encrusted food debris;” and “Interior of reach-in cooler soiled with accumulation of food residue.”

▪ Los Gorditos Cafe, 1570 W. 43rd Pl., Hialeah, May 3: The whole hand-washing concept — equipment, procedure, benefits of —seemed to escape Los Gorditos staff. There also were other problems, particularly connected to renovations in progress: “Must submit plans, plan review application and payment for plan review to (Department of Business & Professional Regulation, Hotels and Restaurants) Plan Review office...Room added with a roof but no walls, three-compartment sink, clean equipment and utensils which (are) unprotected.” But two of the High Priority violations were “Employee washed hands with cold water” and “Employee failed to wash hands before changing gloves and/or putting on gloves to work with food.” Then again, how much good would washing them do when there was “No soap provided at handwash sink” in the kitchen and front counter? And once you’ve got wet hands, then what? Imitate a penguin and flap your arms furiously without taking flight? Because “No paper towels or mechanical hand drying device provided at handwash sink. Kitchen, front counter and both men's and women's bathroom.” Also, “Garbage not placed in a receptacle for storage until pick up to make the garbage inaccessible to insects and rodents.”

▪ Miyako Sushi, 18090 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach, May 3: “Observed raw sewage backing up at the floor drain around food prep area (sushi bar). Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance inside the ice bin.” But the basics of handwashing also eluded them as in this hat trick of germ spreading from the inspection notes: “No soap provided at handwash sink;” “No cold running water at handwashing sink;” and “No paper towels or mechanical hand drying device provided at handwash sink.” Wait, look up! “Ceiling/ceiling tiles/vents soiled with accumulated food debris, grease, dust, or mold-like substance.”

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal