Restaurant News & Reviews

66 flies at a Subway, a dead kitchen rat, Key West rodents: restaurant inspection fails

Last week’s “Sick and Shut Down List” had one restaurant. This week’s list seems to have one of everything.

One major chain. One mid-size chain. One with a rat. One from the Keys. More than one from Miami-Dade and Broward.

What follows comes from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation restaurant inspections. If you want to suggest a place be inspected, do not email us, but file a complaint here. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly. We report without passion or prejudice, but with a side order of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Casa Maya Grill, 301 SE 15th Ter., Deerfield Beach: The inspector closed Casa for two violations.

Steak and chicken on the grill that needed to be at 135 degrees were at 110 and 117, respectively.

And, “handwash sink missing in warewashing or food preparation area. Water is turned off at handwash sink in food prep area due to installation of a new prep table and pipe reconfiguration.”

The Casa was serving again after Wednesday’s re-inspection.

Clove Mediterranean Kitchen, 195 SE Third Ave., Miami: Of the at least 18 flies, eight were sitting on drain trays and another six were cooling their wings at the drink station.

This place just needed some cleaning care. In the walk-in cooler, “floor soiled” and “fan cover ... has accumulation of dust or debris.” And inside the oven, the inspector saw “a heavy accumulation of black substance/grease/food debris.”

Clove was no longer closed after Tuesday’s re-inspection.

Fork Italia, 470 W. Hillsboro Blvd., Deerfield Beach: Here we have another battleground in the eternal Rodents vs. Roaches turf war. Who has the edge? Tough to score.

The roaches have volume with over 55 live roaches, including 33 under a prep table and five on a basket of raw potatoes and onions. Four casualties lay on the floor under the front counter. Another crawled inside an empty ice machine to die alone.

The rodents have quality — three pieces of rodent poop in the rear prep area and “one dead rat in corner of kitchen on floor under dry food storage shelving.”

Also, the flip-top cooler had a broken lid and the reach-in freezer’s temperature measured a decidedly uncool 64. That produced a storm of Stop Sales for temperature abuse on chick peas, cut tomatoes, raw chicken, cooked peppers and salmon.

On Thursday’s re-inspection, the inspector saw three live roaches; three dead ones, including one under a high top table in the dining area; and the cutting boards were still stained. That means they either didn’t clean the cutting boards from the day before or nobody thought to take a $20 over to the nearby Target for new boards.

Online records say they haven’t passed a re-inspection to get back open.

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My Little Captain Gourmet, 18400 NW 75th Pl., Northwest Miami-Dade: Pixie and Dixie will claim squatters rights on dark places you’re not using. Case in point from Wednesday.

“Approximately 20 rodent droppings inside an unused oven in the kitchen next to the water heater.”

There was also a piece of rodent dung on the floor under a milk crate in the storage area.

When you see that violation, the next violation you don’t want to see is “food stored on the floor ... bread on the dry storage area floor.”

Stop Sales hit chunk light tuna, vegetarian beans and diced peaches in dented or rusted cans.

“Build-up of food debris, dust or dirt on nonfood-contact surface. Outside salt and sugar containers.” Yeah, that foul needs to be called a little more often.

The inspector swung back for a same-day re-inspection that the Little Captain passed.

Phvif Miami, 3523 NW 25th St., Miami: It wasn’t planes flying around this chain place inside Element Miami International Airport hotel.

Of the over 34 flies the inspector counted, 15-plus were “inside storage closet used to store chemicals, single service items and fruit” and another five were “on clean plastic containers.”

Oh, ice issues: “Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance inside the ice bin.”

Is that jelly or did someone’s allergies get activated? “Observed open jars of jelly and peanut butter offered during breakfast hours at buffet line, located at customer dinning area, with no barrier or proper protection. Observed sliced bread and muffins stored inside hinged wooden crates, but kept open, during breakfast hours without any barrier or protection.”

“Handwash sink removed from food preparation/dishwashing area.” The inspector said they have to put it back. This is part of the renovations for which Phvif didn’t submit plans or a review application to the DBPR.

Phvif passed re-inspection Friday with extended time given to fix the little construction issue there.

Subway, 12801 W. Sunrise Blvd., Sunrise: This might be our What Bothers You More? choice of the week.

Roaches? “Two dead roaches on the prep table where iced tea is made.”

Do swarms of flies give you the shivering “Ewwwws?” Of the 66 or so flies, 20 were landing on cleaned and sanitized (not any more) utensils. Another 20 were at the front counter, landing on drink cups and lids.

Or, are you more skeeved out by about 50 pounds of drink ice in direct contact with mold in the ice machine? This isn’t just the usual mold-in-the-ice-machine such as at Phvif above, but enough touching the mold that the inspector dropped an actual Stop Sale on it.

Oh, and customers who took their cups that the flies had landed on over to the drink machine, the ice that had been in direct contact with mold came down an ice chute that had a “build up of mold-like substance/slime.”

Two days later, on Friday, Subway passed re-inspection.

Thony Best Caribbean, 5572 W. Oakland Park Blvd., Lauderhill: Many food temperature problems here, but the 34 live roaches didn’t seem to mind and the 77 dead roaches couldn’t express an opinion.

Of the living, 20 were on the left side of the prep area handwash sink “in a prep area by electric plugs by single use takeout plates.” One live one was on a table with onions in prep.

Lowlighting the dead count was “Over 20 dead behind and around baking mixture next to the steam table.”

Not hot water at the employee handwash sink or the three-compartment sink means turned those into decorations with faucets.

Stop Sales got dropped on food cooked the previous day, but not stored at a proper temperature, turning them into possible bacteria boats: 10 pounds of cooked chicken, 8 pounds of cooked turkey, 5 pounds of cooked turkey legs and 5 pounds of rice.

“Encrusted material on can opener blade.” “Encrusted” is never a good word on inspections.

Thony passed re-inspection on Thursday.

Waterfront Brewery, 201 William Street, Key West: Love when folks make do, but using a nonfood-grade basting brush (in this case, a paint brush) for basting butter just seems lazy and cheap. If there’s not a local merchant selling these within a few blocks, the Walgreens a half mile away probably has an appropriate brush.

Aside from the obvious, there’s another problem with “15 rodent droppings on the dry storage room floor located in the kitchen.”

There’s no wall separating the dry storage room from the kitchen. And it’s not like rodents respect boundaries that aren’t marked with stuff like D-Con.

And in that kitchen, the handwash sink didn’t have soap or any way to dry your hands. So, you could just get your hands wet with hot water, which you couldn’t do at the bar handwash sink.

Also among the 27 total violations was “Non-pitting surface rust on food-contact equipment” in a prep kitchen reach-in freezer.

Want two scoops of vanilla with rust sprinkles? “In-use ice scoop stored on soiled surface between uses...ice scoop stored on rusty rack between uses.”

Folks stood in standing water in the kitchen, dishwashing room and bar.

The dishwashing machine had an “accumulation of debris” on the outside and an “accumulation of lime scale” on the more-important inside.

Friday’s re-inspection got the Waterfront Brewery back open for the weekend traffic.

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.
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