Restaurant News & Reviews

What shut the restaurants? Roaches in a wok, flies near the wine, sewage on the floor

Plumbing seems to be a problem in this edition of the Sick and Shut Down List. Two of the six Miami-Dade, Broward or Palm Beach restaurants that comprise this week’s list lost restrooms to bad plumbing.

Also, two of the six restaurants are connected to national chains. If a chain can’t give you standards and consistency, what are they offering besides a recognizable logo and maybe a decent commercial catchphrase?

What follows comes from the Department of Business and Professional Regulation inspections. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly (we won’t even file a report on that Little Havana restaurant that left a well-cooked roach in our doorman’s breakfast). We report without passion or prejudice, but with a side dish of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Bar Louie, 1500 Gateway Blvd., Boynton Beach — Not often do you get a Amityville Horror-level creepy violation, but “Approximately 30 small flies hovering at bar area by the wine racks.”

Hovering? Like poised to attack? Make that Merlot to go.

Other flying bugs hung out with a mop in a bucket full of standing water. Also, the broken dishwasher wasn’t sanitizing dishes.

Food stored from the night before wasn’t properly cooled, so the inspector started dropping Stop Sales like freestyle rhymes: hamburgers, mini burgers, veggie burgers, cheeses, diced chicken, grilled onions and sauteed veggies all got tossed in the garbage.

Bar Louie was back open on Wednesday.

Dunkin Donuts, inside BJ’s Wholesale Club, 13700 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines — This is the kind of thing that shows not only lax local management, but laissez-faire corporate oversight: Their state restaurant license isn’t just expired, it’s fossilized: Dec. 1, 2017.

That’s not the only thing that was out of order on Thursday. “A minimum of one bathroom facility is not available for public use. Observed all bathrooms taped up and closed off to the employees and public.”

(According to Friday’s Department of Agriculture inspection of BJ’s Wholesale Club about this, construction work hit a water supply line, killing water for three hours on Thursday. Employees were allowed to use restrooms in businesses next door. “Portable handwashing sinks were used in the food processing areas and warewashing was suspended.”)

Also, on the equipment disabled list was a two-door reach-in freezer “in disrepair and unplugged, empty and not in use.”

Gyroville Really Fresh Really Greek, 1489C SE 17th St., Fort Lauderdale — Did the “Really Fresh” in the title refer to the six living roaches “on and under the prep table?”

Also, the inspector spotted “two live under the three-compartment sink ... three live on filter material on top of three-door True Cooler ... one live on the floor by the prep table ... one live on the wall near a cabinet ... two dead on blue filter material.”

A couple of flies sat on a prep area wall and a couple on measuring cups. The measuring cups got rewashed.

The pre-cut lettuce wasn’t kept cool enough and the spinach pies weren’t kept warm enough. The former got shoved into a reach-in cooler and the latter got shoved into an oven.

The Saturday re-inspection contained the line “Roaches were killed by manager.” “Observed one live roach on wall behind two-door True reach-in cooler, three live on hinges of True three-door cooler, one live on plastic filing cabinet.”

And there was a dead roach on a table by the paper towel dispenser. At least nobody was being a fly on the wall for the re-inspection.

Sunday, they were open again but still need some employees to take state-approved training.

Nico’s Pizza, 301 N. Clematis St., West Palm Beach — How do you get closed on just three violations, as Nico’s did on Wednesday?

Violation No. 1: Both men’s and ladies bathrooms are not working toilets do not drain when flushed. (This is a Basic violation on inspections. We guarantee many men, especially men without a prostate, and women would consider this a High Priority violation.)

Violation No. 2: “Sewage/wastewater backing up through floor drains. At three-compartment sink, floor drain backing up with waste water in the back prep kitchen. Employees walking through waste water in back prep kitchen trying to keep waste water from entering hot line kitchen.”

Kind of puts the shrug on Violation No. 3 — cut tomatoes kept at too warm a temperature and moved to a reach-in cooler to cool them down — doesn’t it?

The inspector did Nico’s a solid, conducting the re-inspection later Wednesday and they got back open.

Porterhouse Bar and Grill, 17004 Collins Ave., Sunny Isles Beach — To quote Judge Smails, “Ohhh, Porterhouse!”

Five dead roaches and 10 living small flies at the dishwasher area and two dead roaches on the kitchen floor in front of walk-in cooler cover the insect count.

No soap or paper towels at the handwash sink when the inspector got there.

“Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine” and “standing water in bottom of reach-in cooler” added to the petri dish ambiance of the kitchen.

Three cutting boards had cut marks and couldn’t be cleaned. This common violation makes us wonder why restaurants don’t put new cutting boards into the monthly or weekly budget.

Strangely, we couldn’t find Porterhouse Bar and Grill on the Department of Business and Professional Regulation website as a licensed permanent food service joint, but only as a licensed retail beverage joint.

Sarku Japan, inside International Mall, 1455 NW 107th Ave., West Miami-Dade — Generally, you don’t want to see roaches anywhere in any restaurant. But even if you accept they’re standard restaurant roommates in South Florida, you probably don’t want your Japanese restaurant to have seven live ones running around inside the bottom part of a cookline wok.

That’s what the inspector saw on Jan. 15, along with five dead roaches under a prep table slicer and “kitchen employee cleaning different areas of the kitchen then proceeded to prep noodles and did not wash hands.”

Among the areas of the kitchen apparently not cleaned: the slicer, vegetable chopper, ice machine interior, mixer head, inside of the microwave or inside of the reach-in freezer. All those got lumped together under “accumulation of food debris/grease on food-contact surface.”

“Mold-like residue” was inside the walking cooler and around the kitchen. “Grout missing throughout the kitchen area with food particles inside.”

Give Sarku credit for bouncing back from a 33-violation inspection to get back open after the following day’s re-inspection.

Since 1989, David J. Neal’s domain at the Miami Herald has expanded to include writing about Panthers (NHL and FIU), Dolphins, old school animation, food safety, fraud, naughty lawyers, bad doctors and all manner of breaking news. He drinks coladas whole. He does not work Indianapolis 500 Race Day.