Restaurant News & Reviews

This restaurant used a construction drill as a mixer. And these roaches loved Pollo Tropical

A statewide look at Florida’s top restaurant violations for 2016-17

Restaurant inspections ensure food retail establishments are in compliance with state sanitation and food safety procedures. Here are the top ten violations inspectors found between 2016-17 in Florida restaurant kitchens.
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Restaurant inspections ensure food retail establishments are in compliance with state sanitation and food safety procedures. Here are the top ten violations inspectors found between 2016-17 in Florida restaurant kitchens.

Here’s how we choose which violations to highlight when we peruse state restaurant inspections of South Florida restaurants.

Roaches and rodents: When it comes to restaurants, we tend to like our animals dead and on a plate or in a bowl. Anything moving — roaches, rodents, flies, lizards — is added to the list.

The unusual: How often do you have a restaurant that doesn’t have a restroom because it’s using the only restroom as an office?

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Food violations: Especially food getting thrown out for violating food safety standards.

Handwashing issues: Germs traveling by hand to other hands or to food rank among the world’s most dependable mass transit.

These restaurants got shut down for at least the day after failing inspection. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly. What follows is delivered without passion or prejudice, but with a side order of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Brio Tuscan Grille, 8888 SW 136th St., Kendall — Let’s start with the bugs.

The inspector saw eight live roaches under the cookline broiler stand. Upstairs, in a storage room, he saw three live roaches and two dead roaches under boxes with the soda syrup you hook up to the carbonation in drink dispensers.

Speaking of which, you want a soft drink? OK, your soft drink comes out of a “soda gun holster with accumulated slime/debris” and goes over ice from a machine with an “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.”

“Nonexempt fish offered raw or undercooked has not undergone proper parasite destruction. Fish must be fully cooked or discarded.”

One handwashing sink was out of order with “a disconnected drain line by cookline.” Another handwashing sink had a strainer inside, which might have been just as well — there was no soap or way to dry hands.

The inspector dropped Stop Sales on two dented or rusted cans, one of tomatoes and one of red peppers.

The inspector noted a “ceiling water leak from upstairs water softener,” but no dripping from the leak.

They passed the Nov. 6 re-inspection.

Fritaybon Goutalix Restaurant, 12143 NW Seventh St., North Miami-Dade — Unlike its March appearance on the Rodent Report, no rodents ran about this time at Fritaybon. Maybe the roaches staged a coup before the Nov. 5 inspection.

“Observed approximately 5 live roaches behind a reach in freezer and approximately 4 live roaches behind refrigerator located in the kitchen area...approximately 10 dead roaches stuck on sticky trap behind refrigerator in the kitchen area.”

Also, “duct tape used to repair nonfood-contact surface. Observed clear duct tape used to repair reach-in freezer door.”

Fritaybon got back open Nov. 6.

Garcia’s Ranch House, 1548 W. 84th St., Hialeah — Bad news is the dishwasher sanitizer was at 0 parts per million. That means dishes were not sanitized for anybody’s protection. And, the ice machine had an “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior...”

Worse news? “Observed a dead rodent underneath of kitchen reach in cooler next to ice machine.”

That rodent probably had kids. Not just because of rodent nature, but it’s hard to believe one rodent was responsible for “approximately 100 dry rodent droppings in the dishwasher area behind shelves located in kitchen area, approximately 25 dry rodent droppings under preparation table located in kitchen cook line, approximately 20 dry rodent droppings by back exit door and approximately 20 dry rodent droppings underneath of Dasani reach-in cooler located in kitchen prep area by the ice machine.”

Apparently, there’s rodent-roach detente as the inspector spotted “approximately 20 live roaches between the kitchen wall and the kitchen reach-in cooler main cookline, approximately two live roaches by the walk-in cooler door located next to the cookline.”

All the rodent problems were still observed at the time of callback inspection, which Garcia’s didn’t pass. You could go back to the ranch on Nov. 13.

Los Perros, 6828 NW 169th St., North Miami-Dade — Homemade empanadas work for lunch, Dolphins, Panthers or Oscars watch parties or office celebrations. But when the person running Los Perros on Nov. 6 admitted the empanadas were made at home, the inspector unleashed a monsoon of Stop Sales on 130 beef, 90 chicken and 125 cheese frozen empanadas.

That’s in addition to the homemade tomato sauce that wasn’t cooled enough anyway despite being inside the reach-in cooler.

For the Life On Earth part of the inspection, “Observed approximately 10 live roaches located at dry storage area back of the kitchen next to kitchen reach-in freezer, approximately two live roaches by the fryer on kitchen floor.... one live roach on the walk-in cooler door” along with two dead roaches on the kitchen floor.

In the ice machine, there was an “accumulation of black/green mold-like substance.”

The walk-in freezer couldn’t keep things frozen. That continued to be a problem on the Nov. 7 re-inspection, as were “approximately five live roaches at the main kitchen behind the reach-in cooler at the cookline and in front of walk-in cooler door, approximately two live roaches on the front counter.”

Los Perros finally was up to snuff on Nov. 9.

Main Moon Buffet, 18423 S. Dixie Hwy, Cutler Bay — Main Moon got a hint and a half for its buffet with a warning issued after a Nov. 8 inspection. So what does the inspector see upon returning Thursday?

“Observed construction drill used as a mixer to mix batter.”

Come on, people, $15 out of petit cash and a stop at Kmart gets you a five-speed Black & Decker mixer. Not a Black & Decker drill, a mixer.

Ah, yes, one of our bete noires: “In-use utensil stored in cracks between pieces of equipment.”

Well, just run it through the dishmachine. Except that the dishmachine wasn’t dispensing chlorine, thus killing its sanitation powers. That’s a problem even if 10 live roaches weren’t hanging around the dishwasher.

A human dishwasher went from fussing with dirty dishes to clean utensils without washing his hands.

The inspector dropped a Stop Sale on veggies sushi rolls and imitation crab meat sushi rolls in the front buffet line when they weren’’t time-marked and “operator was not able to determine the time it was made.”

Cooked veggies, wings, fish, stuffed mushrooms and chicken on stick were between 12 and 37 degrees under safe temperature. There was no notation if they got warmed up or tossed out.

But the sauce might have had extra sauce because the inspector “Observed containers of sauce, wasabi, ginger, on front buffet counters not under the sneeze guard not properly covered.

A fixture was broken in the women’s restroom.

Inspection reports state the rule violated, then how the establishment violated the rule. That format produced this hopefully-intentional line in the inspection:

“No container installed for catching grease from hood drip tray. No container installed for catching grease from hood drip tray. **Repeat Violation**”

Main Moon rose again after passing Friday’s re-inspection.

Mi Mexico Lindo Y Que Rico, 13955 Smith Sundy Rd., Delray Beach — Thursday, Rodents weren’t running. That’s good. Roaches weren’t running. That’s good. Water wasn’t running in some places.

That’s bad.

“Hot water and cold water not provided/shut off at employee handwash sink....” and “No hot and cold water running water at three-compartment sink.”

Also, “No cold holding units available to maintain potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food at proper temperatures....reach-in cooler not connected with power at time of inspection.”

And the Stop Sales fell like rain on cooked pork, cooked beef, raw pork that were way too warm after being kept tin that powerless reach-in box that obviously wasn’t cooling anything. Cheese and tomato sauces got the same fate. Also trashed were hot holding pork, ground pork and beef that weren’t kept warm enough.

They reopened after Friday’s re-inspection.

Oceano Bistro & Lounge, 1350 N. Ocean Blvd., Pompano Beach — Oceano set a record for our restaurant reports on Nov. 9 for the fewest violations ever for a restaurant that got closed.

Violation No. 1: “Observed at least 20 live roaches under and around high temp dish machine and three compartment sink. Observed two live roaches behind ice machine.”

Violation No. 2: “Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food thawed at room temperature. - hot dog sausages - Moved to Refrigerator.”

Violation No. 3: “Required employee training provided by a third-party employee training program and operator unable to provide original certificate for employees trained.”

Oceano was back open Nov. 10.

Pizza Station, 6824 NW 169th St., North Miami-Dade — We’ll just stay with the rodent problems on Nov. 5.

“Observed approximately half pound of flour inside of dough roller machine mixed with dry rodent droppings.”

“Observed dry rodent droppings on the preparation table.”

Oh, you want to count poop pellets? Well, “approximately 50 dry rodent droppings in kitchen by the three-compartment sink, approximately 10 dry rodent droppings observed in the tray with left over flour inside of the dough roller machine. Machine located on top of food preparation table in main kitchen. Approximately 10 dry rodent droppings underneath of kitchen shelves by the mop sink.”

The Station re-opened on Nov. 6.

Pollo Tropical, 107 U.S. 441 S, Royal Palm Beach — With September’s rodent-riddled store, this makes two recent Shut Down List appearances by a Pollo. One more and somebody might find themselves a scapegoat pinata by Fiesta Restaurant Group.

Pollo Tropical? More like Pollo Midwestern Spring because the chicken wasn’t warm enough for proper food safety. Instead of the minimum 135 degrees, the cooked chicken on the top rack over gas grill was at 110 to 123 degrees and the cooked chicken breast on the cookline measured 111 degrees. All that chicken got tossed.

The salsa couldn’t be properly cooled, but the inspection didn’t say the salsa got a Stop Sale.

There were 15 to 20 live roaches under the three-compartment sink, a live roach under the bread rack at the front counter and a dead one under a carbon dioxide tank.

Wipe it down, once in a while, people: “Encrusted material on can opener blade.”

This Pollo was back open Nov. 6.

Tamarac Thai and Sushi, 7658 N. Nob Hill Rd., Tamarac — Usually, dead roaches count as a Basic violation. Usually, their final resting place isn’t the cooking equipment.

“Slicer with dead roaches on top it, dead roaches on top of prep table at cookline where food is stored, dead roach on top of flip top cooler at cookline and dead roaches on can opener and blade at cookline.”

Other dead roaches got listed under the Basic violation. “One dead roach behind and one dead roach inside chest freezer at cookline; three dead roaches by walk-in cooler glass doors; 27 dead roaches on top of prep table near hand sink at cookline; seven dead roaches on and around slicer; three dead roaches by pass thru window; three dead roaches by ice machine; 10 dead roaches under hand sink by dish area; three dead roaches by rice storage bins; and 75 dead roaches behind two freezers and cooler at cookline.”

Some bugs did make it out alive. “One live roach by electrical connector by dishwasher; one live roach under small prep table near microwave at cookline; 35 live roaches under three-compartment sink in dishwashing area; and 40 live roaches under dish table next to cookline.”

It’s a sushi place, but there’s no handwash sink accessible to sushi bar. The handwashing sink in the dishwashing area has plastic containers stored in it, but no paper towels or hand blower if someone could manage to use it.

“Cashew container soiled.”

Wolsen Caffe, 17100 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach — Wednesday, the inspector saw “approximately four live roaches between kitchen wall and kitchen preparation table where clean kitchen utensils are kept at the main kitchen area” and “one live roach on top of preparation table near walk in cooler door at main kitchen area.”

Stop us if you’re heard this before…”Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.

The cookline’s main chef prepped food without hair restraint.

Wolsen got it right Thursday.