102 dead roaches in one sushi bar, 11 flies in another sushi bar among restaurant fails

A statewide look at Florida’s top restaurant violations for 2017-18

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 2017-18 in Florida restaurant kitchens.
Up Next
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 2017-18 in Florida restaurant kitchens.

This week’s Sick and Shut Down list of South Florida restaurants failing inspection looks like a throwback to the Roach Report days.

Roaches are a restaurant reality in South Florida. But that reality got a little too real in these establishments.

What follows comes from restaurant inspections by the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. We don’t control who gets inspected (although you can by clicking here) or how strictly they get inspected. We report without passion or prejudice but with a dollop of humor.

And we go in alphabetical order:

Asian Buffet & Grill, 240 S. Federal Highway, Deerfield Beach — And back up on the list like bad oysters comes Asian Buffet & Grill. This place made the April 1 Sick and Shut Down List and the one on Oct. 2, 2018.

Let’s start with the Stop Sales orders. One got dropped on a strawberry glaze can that was dented at the seam. Another one was dropped on a sushi roll after a fly landed on the food.

That was one of 11 flies buzzing around the sushi bar. Another fly landed in the meat grinder tray in the prep area.

Not sure how another Stop Sales order didn’t hit some rice after two live roaches were seen hanging out in a cookline rice container. But the restaurant-wide live roach count, 12, was beaten just by the 13 dead roaches on a cookline prep sink. Overall, 63 roaches lay squashed or legs up, including six by the rice pots and two on top of a cookline flip top cooler that must not be open too often.

With that many roaches, do you really want to keep the prepped onions uncovered in the walk-in cooler?

Want something to drink? “Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine” and “ice scoop stored on top of soiled ice machine.”

Is that better or worse than “tongs stored hanging from garbage can at cookline?”

The handwashing sink clearly doesn’t get used for handwashing but rather for equipment storage.

Maybe they could put the equipment on the floor, although that’s not sanitary even if you didn’t need waders or Crocs to work: “Floor area(s) covered with standing water. In cookline, prep area, dishwashing area and sushi bar.”

“Homemade scoop out of plastic bottle.” What, Target wasn’t open?

When the inspector went back on Friday for the re-inspection, there was “one live roach inside rice container, one live roach in seaweed box by sushi bar.” And to speak of the dead, 28 roach corpses dotted the restaurants, including five by the cookline stoves.

Asian Buffet got it together for Saturday’s re-re-inspection.

Cake Thai Kitchen, 7919 Biscayne Blvd., Miami — What got this popular spot closed a week ago? Zed, they had some bugs.

“Approximately seven live roaches crawling on reach in cooler gaskets in back kitchen... approximately eight live roaches in trap on shelf next to plates... one live roach crawling on container with sugar in back.”

In addition, the inspector saw 11 dead roaches, six of them on a “pipe above a shelf where rice cooker is held.” We’re sure no roaches ever fell into that and got cooked with the rice, no, siree, Bob, no way, Jose.

No soap at the handwashing sink or way to dry hands after employees run water on them.

“Wall soiled with accumulated grease, food debris, and/or dust. Throughout kitchen” and “Floor soiled/has accumulation of debris. Throughout kitchen.”

You’d figure they’d keep the kitchen cleaner, seeing as how “Only means for public to access the bathroom is through a food preparation, ware washing, or food storage area. Observed bathroom located through kitchen.”

“Interior of microwave soiled with encrusted food debris.”

Cake Thai got back open after Tuesday’s re-inspection.

Dragon Gourmet Buffet, 1091 S. Unviersity Dr., Plantation — The inspector counted 166 dead roaches, 102 of which were in the sushi bar area. So, if your sushi had more texture than usual...

Of the 56 live roaches, 35 wriggled around a Supera cooler’s gaskets and eight were under a bucket by the candy stove.

Also, that might not be vinaigrette dressing on the salad bar vegetables.

“Self-service salad bar/buffet lacking adequate sneezeguards or other proper protection from contamination. Broccoli, onions and zucchini not under sneeze guard by sushi area grill...Ice cream cones in buffet area not protected by sneezeguard.”

The inspector notes staff covered the veggies, but we always ask, how long was that uncovered before the inspector showed up and pointed it out?

“In-use knife/knives stored in cracks between pieces of equipment at cookline.” “In-use rice scoop/spoon stored in standing water less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit.”

The inspector did Dragon a favor and listed all this under one Intermediate violation instead of counting each one separately as normally is the case. “Encrusted material on can opener blade on cookline. Interior of chest freezer at cookline soiled with dead roaches. Containers of flour and rice soiled at cookline. Top of reach in cooler at cookline soiled.”

Look up and there were, “ceiling/ceiling tiles/vents soiled with accumulated food debris, grease, dust, or mold-like substance.”

We take a break from the ickiness for a little false advertising. “Establishment advertised crab on menu/menu board but served imitation crab. Crab Rangoon on menu uses only imitation crab.”

Eggs still in their shells were being kept at room temperature, 75 degrees, instead of under 45 degrees.

The sushi rolls weren’t properly time marked.

Tuesday’s re-inspection didn’t go much better, although the Dragon staff got it down to eight dead roaches in the sushi bar area. Still, the 11 live ones in the Turbo Air cookline reach-in cooler, four live ones in the sushi bar and live one in the dining room helped them fail for a second straight day.

The Dragon avoided a hat trick of failure by passing Wednesday’s re-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.