Restaurant News & Reviews

Roaches in the ice. Bare hands scooping rice. These restaurants paid the price

Live roaches scurried across the prep table of the first Miami-Dade restaurant on our Roach Report. Looks like another fun ride through the land of the restaurant roaches.

As always, the Roach Report is compiled from state restaurant inspections. We control neither who gets inspected nor how strictly the inspector applies standards. We present it without passion or prejudice, but with more than a dollop of humor.

By the way, we note a restaurant being cited for dead roaches only if it’s also cited for live ones. Why? Because it takes long enough as it is just to list the places that have live insects scurrying around.

As usual, we start with the places that got shut down for the day wholly or partially for running roaches.

Aroma Espresso Bar, 540 Collins Ave., Miami Beach — The inspector swung by Aug. 10 and saw “approximately one live roach in ice machine in front service area. And approximately four live roaches in kitchen area on prep table next to ice cream machine where soup is located. Plus one near the storage area.”

Also near the ice cream machine — standing water.

Once the inspector pulled out a food thermometer, the Stop Sale orders flew. Kept at too warm a temperature were salmon, whipped cream cheese, butter, milk and whatever was in the aforementioned ice cream machine.

Aroma got more time for compliance after the Aug. 11 callback inspection.

Bagels & Co., 11064 Biscayne Blvd., North Miami-Dade — A little lox and bugs with your bagels? “Observed approximately 10 live roaches crawling on the wall behind preparation table, three live roaches under mixer equipment in the bagel preparation area.”

As for roach corpses, the inspector saw one in a shelf under prep table, another in dry storage and four under the prep table near a walk-in cooler.

And the inspector “observed wet towels in use not stored in sanitizing solution.”

This was on Aug. 6. Bagels & Co. filled in their holes for the Aug. 7 callback.

Dominos Pizza, 17028 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach — If you’ve got to be among the shut down, might as well be set a Roach Report record low for violations: three, all High Priority.

Still, the pizza chain’s home office probably wasn’t happy to see “three live roaches on the clean employees apron hanging on a shelf by the mop sink in kitchen area, two live roaches on dirty employees apron in dry storage, two live roaches crawling between mop sink and three-compartment sink in kitchen area.”

Another problem the inspector spotted on July 26: “approximately 10 live flies around kitchen area.”

No wonder they had Raid Ant & Roach spray in the office. Bet you didn’t know that was a violation under “Pesticide/insecticide labeled for household use only present in establishment.”

El Gran Inka, 3155 NE 163rd St., Northeast Miami-Dade — The roaches at El Gran clearly decided to stay spread out so as not to draw notice.

What the inspector noticed on Aug. 16 was “two live roaches in the reach-in cooler located by cook line, one live roach in dry storage area, by cooking oil; and one live roach by rice cooker on preparation table.”

As for the corpses, “one dead roach on wall over rice cooker, by cook line; six dead roaches on cooking oil, four dead roaches by crates of potatoes, two dead roaches on dry storage shelf by paper bags in dry storage area, three dead roaches by dish washer machine; six dead roaches by ice machine; three dead roaches behind preparation table by cook line; and four dead roaches in water heater room.”

He counted over seven flies in the kitchen and food preparation area and over five in the food storage area.

“Four reach-in coolers by cook line not keeping food cold” leads to food being kept at bacteria-building temperatures. The inspector dropped Stop Sales like Snoop Dogg drops weed references: cooked noodles, chicken, seafood mix, shrimp, scallops, calamari, imitation crab salad, lamb, shrimp, octopus, mashed potatoes, tuna salad, octopus, tilapia, raw chicken and lettuce.

Gold China Restaurant, 15055 S. Dixie Hwy, Palmetto Bay — You know a place is headed for a shutdown when things are so lax, the inspector sees, “Bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food while the establishment is under a foodborne illness investigation. Observed employee scooping rice from a pot without gloves on.”

OK, let’s get the roach part out of the way: “One live roach crawling on the wall in the kitchen by cook line. Approximately two roaches live inside meter room. One live roach in the cabinet by storage area. One live roach crawling on the wall in the kitchen by prep area.”

And, in other bug news, ”approximately 100 ants in a nest over sugar by storage area.”

Now, back to the other biological boo-boos. Check out how much is going on in this violation: “No handwash sink for employees. Storage area with two prep tables and cutting board without a hand sink located close by for hand washing. Observed cutting board with evidence of cutting raw chicken.”

Did you want ice in your drink? “Lime scale build-up inside ice machine.”

That seems to mesh with, “Food-contact surfaces not sanitized after cleaning, before use.” The slicer blade and the slicer blade guard had retained enough old food to be noted.

That reminds us, we keep forgetting to investigate why “Soil residue in food storage containers” is only an Intermediate violation.

This all comes from the Aug. 9 inspection. Gold China’s was gilded enough to pass the callback inspection on Aug. 10.

Happy Buffet, 1533 W. 49th St., Hialeah — If you’re happy after you eat at a buffet with 11 High Priority violations, either buy an extra lottery ticket or consider you might have gastrointestinal superpowers.

The live roaches spotted on July 24 were “one on top of a handwash sink and two on top of a push cart used to store clean pans and pots. Behind that cart and on the wall next to the dishwasher were another 10 to 15 live movers and five dead ones. One dead roach was found inside a box with paper towels.

Now, to the dead flies, which are better than live flies. But, we’ve told you before, inspectors are not about that trap life near the food.

“Observed large amounts of fly sticky traps used over prep areas and near dishwasher area located in back kitchen area of the restaurant.

“Observed approximately 15 fly sticky tapes containing dead flies hanging over prep counters where a container of krab meat, boxes of broccoli, and trays of egg rolls, beef ribs and raw salmon were being prepped, as well as, hanging over reach-in freezers used to store ice cream. Also, observed approximately 10 fly sticky tapes containing dead flies hanging in front of entrance doorway of back kitchen area and near dishwasher machine.”

Some improperly cooled white rice got hit with a Stop Sale as did a rusted can of mandarin oranges.

You might want to consider ordering your drinks naturally cooled. Not only was there an “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine” but it was “observed at all three ice machine located near sushi area and back kitchen area.”

Happy Buffet got happy again on July 25.

Hilton Cabana Miami Beach-L’Echon, 6261 Collins Ave. — “Observed 2 live roaches under dishwasher machine.”

That was the only High Priority violation of five violations. But it was enough to get the place closed for the rest of Aug. 9. With only five violations, they easily passed the Aug. 10 callback.

Traymore Restaurant and Bar, 2445 Collins Ave., Miami Beach — On Aug. 16, the inspector saw “approximately eight live roaches behind cooking in kitchen area, two live roaches under the handwashing sink next to the preparation table, two live roaches next to the walk-in cooler at the basement and one live roach under the three-compartment sink. Observed approximately four dead roaches around the kitchen area.”

No soap at the front counter bar handwash sink.

Homemade sauces marked with a date over seven days past got a Stop Sale order.

Speaking of sauces or dressing, what looked like Italian dressing at the salad bar might’ve been something a little more personal: “Observed food not being protected by sneeze-guard in salad bar: ham, cheese, cut fruits and bread.”

Some places get Administrative Complaint Recommended, which means they’re within a wind change of being shut down.

Bodegon 71, 1014 71st St., Miami Beach — The inspector saw two live roaches on the wall next to the three-compartment sink. There also was beef in a container on the prep table thawing at room temperature, a big no-no.

Red South Beach Hotel, 3010 Collins Ave., Miami Beach — The inspector “observed two live roaches behind dish washer machine southeast corner in kitchen area, one live roach next to the reach-in cooler northeast corner in kitchen area and one live roach under the three-compartment sink.”

Pasta improperly cooled for more than 12 hours got a Stop Sale.

And “No soap provided at handwash sink” and “ Slicer blade soiled with old food debris.”

Some places had live roaches, but just got a Warning Issued.

Canton Chinese Restaurant of Homestead, 1657 NE Eighth St., Homestead — Only one live roach in the crevices between the three-compartment sink and a hand sink in the kitchen area.

But we need to mention the Stop Sales dropped on diced ham, raw beef, cooked ribs and cooked chicken in the walk-in cooler from the previous day

Special Mention for ...

Caribe Cafe, 7173 Flagler St., West Miami-Dade — Only one dead roach, but we wouldn’t be doing our duty as good servants of the public if we saw, but didn’t report, “Observed in the walk in cooler — whole ham with mold-like growth.”