LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Before they knew why we were there, the employees at Masala Express were hamming it up for our camera.
But quickly, they disappeared so the person in charge could take the heat.
When inspectors arrived on Feb. 20, there was nobody in charge and food handlers could not answer basic questions about food safety.
Masala Express got a 28-demerit C grade for the kitchen at Masala Express, which is in the Boulevard Food Court on Las Vegas Blvd. near Harmon.
Violations included heavily soiled floors, walls and door handles in the walk-in cooler. Spilled food hung from fridge racks. Sauces, chicken, batter and chips were uncovered and subject to contamination.
Thawing meat was dripping onto the floor and splashing walls.
And dirty utensils were stored as clean.
"I think it was like, we had some equipment that was not in use," said Akshay Kamble, the person in charge. "That was the reason that we got the C grade. Other than that, my food and everything was in the right temperature so there was no problem with the food, only some of my equipment."
"Well that's actually not true," 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears pointed out. "That's not what the health inspection says. The health inspection found moldy food, a ton of expired food going back to January and early February, and really dirty conditions in the kitchen. That's all listed in the health inspection so there actually were problems with the food."
"Uh... My kitchen is somewhere else so you know we have all the stuff going on, but we don't have anything because of that. Actually you can check everything. Everything is good," Kamble said.
The Health District did check everything on Feb. 26 and he's right. Masala Express's kitchen got a zero-demerit A grade upon re-inspection.
"It's good now, yes," said Spears. "But why was there so much expired food in the fridge? They had to throw out yogurt, yogurt drink mixture, cooked artichokes, heavy cream, cooked chicken wings, spinach, cheese mixture--all of that was expired."
"I have no idea about that," said Kamble.
"What about moldy onions and moldy jalapenos? The Health District has pictures of mold on the food," said Spears.
He didn't know about that either.
Other violations included filthy containers, scoops without handles laying in sauces and mold in the ice machine.
Lots of food was unlabeled and because staff didn't know how old it was, it had to be tossed in the garbage.
Rice, pico de gallo and guacamole in the temperature danger zone had to go into the trash too.
Dishes weren't properly cleaned and sanitized and hand sink faucet handles were heavily soiled with food debris.
Kamble says they are working on that and making sure they check everything.
There was one imminent health hazard closure at Vegan Bros mobile unit which was outside a grocery store on Simmons and Centennial.
It was shut down Feb. 21.
Someone complained and inspectors confirmed gross, unsanitary conditions after finding old food everywhere and no water in the trailer.
There was old, hardened food on the floor, inside the fridge, on the steam table, on utensils and on cooking equipment.
Inspectors say food spills were not cleaned on a daily basis and the facility's conditions were likely to attract a pest infestation.
Vegan Bros is still closed.
They haven't scheduled re-inspection and the owner did not return our call for comment.
An employee said they were closing down for good.
Click here to see the health report for Masala Express BOH Kitchen.
Click here to see the health report for Vegan Bros.