DIRTY DINING: Teriyaki Madness and Thai Pepper tie for most demerits

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) - We're doubling down on Dirty Dining with a tie for the most demerits.  

As Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears reports, one restaurant is a repeat offender and the other is part of a chain with locations across the valley.  

Thai Pepper on Paradise Road and Sahara Avenue is our first of two 33-demerit C grades. 

We're back for our second visit to this place and getting a similar reception to when we were first here in 2013.

"Yeah, I'm not... It's not exactly a good time to have this right now," said owner Win Chu.  "I'm in the middle of a lot of stuff, but anyway, um, if you have any other questions you can pull all the information out of the health department anyway."

What health inspectors found was improper handwashing, tofu and bean sprouts left on the counter at unsafe temperatures, and beef and cooked noodles also in the temperature danger zone. 

The floor was excessively dirty and in disrepair and the floor sink was clogged.

"Everything is still in progress that we are working on with the Health Department to resolve all the problems, all the issues," said Chu. "OK? Thank you."

Other issues included a rice scoop stored in standing water and potentially hazardous foods without date labels. 

The make table was red-tagged for not holding foods at safe temperatures. 

And the toilet was overflowing in the women's bathroom used by both customers and employees.

Chu had no responses to any of our questions about the issues.

We head across town to the other 33-demerit C grade -- Teriyaki Madness on Lake Mead Boulevard near Buffalo Drive. 

One of the first things we notice?

No grade on the wall.  That's no good for customer G Pittman, who asks why he didn't see it when he came in.

"That's against code. And we need the code. You gotta stay with code," he said. "You gotta put the grade up.  People gotta know what they're eating, where they're going, stuff like that."

Teriyaki Madness' C grade came from things like soiled soda nozzles and a repeat violation for improperly cooled rice. In fact, an entire batch had to be thrown out.    

As we're waiting to talk to someone, the manager comes out and hands me her cell phone, telling me the owners, Eric and Alan, are on the other end of the line.

They tell me their staff wasn't prepared when inspectors arrived.

We talk about utensils stored in room temperature water, cabbage heads not washed prior to cutting, and cooked chicken found at a dangerously unsafe temperature.  

They tell me they're disappointed in the inspection results and the fact that we found the C grade not displayed is unacceptable.

We also have two imminent health hazard closures. 

Quality Food Service's No. 2 truck was shut down for lack of adequate refrigeration. 

And Thai Food To Go on Desert Inn Road between Pecos and Mojave roads had the same issue with inadequate refrigeration -- meaning most of the food simply wasn't safe to eat. Inspectors also noted severely soiled shelving.

Thai Food To Go, Quality Food Service and Teriyaki Madness are all back to A grades. Teriyaki Madness was re-inspected Monday afternoon.  The restaurant released the following statement:

"We were extremely disappointed in receiving the 'C' rating by the Southern Nevada Health District on July 11. The grade was the first 'C' rating in the six-year life of the Lake Mead Teriyaki Madness location. We want to let our wonderful customers know that we take great pride in providing each person with high quality, delicious food. We were quick to reach back out to the Southern Nevada Health District, and their dedicated staff returned to our location the following week and performed another thorough inspection. Following their evaluation, they reinstated our 'A' rating and we will be committed to maintaining this grade at the Lake Mead location and all Teriyaki Madness restaurants moving forward. Our restaurants are locally owned and operated, and each of our owners are held to the highest of standards in order to deliver the premium, healthy, quality food product that all people deserve."

Thai Pepper still had a C as of the original publication of this article. The Health District's website shows they were re-inspected July 28 and now have a three-demerit A grade.

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