LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It’s a tie this week for the dirtiest dining. The Retreat on Charleston Peak and China A Go Go both got 39-demerit C grades from the Health District, meaning they both avoided shut down by just two demerits.
Both also had some of the same issues, including failure to wear masks.
Customers entering restaurants must wear masks, and you might argue it’s even more important for the people cooking your food to do so.
But that was not the case at China A Go Go. On June 22, the manager and several prep cooks were not wearing masks when cooking and preparing foods. The inspector asked them several times to put masks on.
At the Retreat on Charleston Peak, the Health District substantiated a complaint about lack of masks on June 25. The complaint said, “Large number of staff not following governor’s mandate for wearing masks.” When inspectors arrived, they saw for themselves that multiple staff members were working without masks.
The inspector wrote:
“Although [Southern Nevada Health District] is not the enforcement agency, SNHD supports the governor’s initiative with mitigating the spread of COVID in our community. Encourage staff to follow requirements and have staff wear masks.”
The list of other violations is long.
We'll begin with China A Go Go as the chain of restaurants is a multiple-time repeat offender.
The Losee and Tropical location is the fifth to be on Dirty Dining.
The last time was in April with China A Go Go on Aliante Parkway and Deer Springs. The Ann and Decatur Boulevard location has been on Dirty Dining twice. The North Rainbow and Anthem Village Drive locations in Henderson have each been on once.
This time, on June 22, inspectors went to the Losee location to follow up on a complaint. A customer wrote:
"After ordering beef broccoli, orange chicken, and thin noodles with shrimp, when got home I noticed a very strong smell of ammonia on the beef and it had a very slimy texture to it. I then tried the orange chicken and it also tasted very stale and very old. I have eaten from this restaurant several times, but I really think as a cook myself this food was not right. I took all the food back and told them to please check their food or what they are cooking with. I am concerned because everything that was meat tasted rotten.”
When inspectors arrived, they say the food appeared fresh, no old food was found and there were no “off smells,” so they were unable to validate the complaint.
But they did conduct a full inspection which resulted in the 39-demerit C grade.
Inspectors say no one in the kitchen -- from the people working the cash register to the staff preparing and cooking food -- was washing their hands when needed.
The prep person went to the bathroom, put on a new apron and returned to the kitchen without washing hands.
Many foods in the make table were in the temperature danger zone including cooked pork, noodles, fried tofu, eggs and sliced cabbage. This was noted as a repeat critical violation.
Raw meat and seafood were stored above shredded lettuce for egg rolls.The rice cooker was dirty with old food and clearly not being cleaned.
There were no sanitizer buckets anywhere except near the front customer counter area and the dish machine wasn’t sanitizing dishes.
There were flies stuck on fly paper next to the prep table.
They were using old plastic wrap to cover pooled eggs, clean shredded cabbage was being stored in a plastic garbage bag and shelves under the prep table were very dirty.
China A Go Go still has a C grade.
The manager said "no comment."
Getting back to the June 25 inspection at the Retreat on Charleston Peak on Kyle Canyon Road, in addition to the violation for not wearing masks described above, there were other issues in the complaint that inspectors found valid, like mold in the ice machine, dirty and oil streaked kitchen wares stored as clean and an excessive number of flies throughout the facility.
Handwashing was also an issue. Inspectors saw a food handler crack raw eggs into a skillet and then prepare other foods and touch utensils without washing hands. Those who did wash their hands only did so for a few seconds.
Several food-handlers prepared food and polished clean utensils while touching their face masks.
There were flies landing on the cook line, in the food prep area, dining room and back terrace. Excessive moisture and piled up trash were “creating a nuisance environment” and inviting the pests.
Several foods were improperly cooled and had to be thrown out including pot de crème with eggs, short ribs, pork belly and country gravy.
Trays were double-stacked on cooked ribs without any protective barrier.
An employee picked up a sanitizer bucket from the floor and put it onto a prep table during active food preparation.
A sheet tray of cooked rice was stored uncovered under dirty condenser vents.
There was a “complete absence” of sanitizer solution in open food areas during active food prep.
Multiple kitchen wares in clean storage were dirty with excessive old food including the vegetable dicer, cutting board and can opener blade.
They weren’t maintaining their grease bins and the employee restroom toilet was excessively soiled and stained.
Floors were really dirty, and tiles were broken.
Inspectors say the restaurant’s pest control records did not adequately or accurately reflect conditions.
This inspection was the latest in what the Health District calls a “pattern of non-compliance" with health regulations. The C grade came when they were already under extra scrutiny for that pattern of problems, so a second supervisory conference was required.
Owner Deanna Crossman says they take these issues very seriously and made staff changes as a result, including replacing the general manager, restaurant manager and executive chef.
She says the inspection happened just as they were re-opening from the state-mandated shutdown and they were still trying to incorporate all the new COVID related requirements. Crossman added that things are very different now, she’s 100% sure they’ll be vindicated upon reinspection and expects to run a tight ship moving forward.
Due to the recent fire on Mount Charleston, the reinspection process has been delayed, but she’s hoping it happens before the end of this week.
Green Valley Grocery on Charleston near Valley View was shut down June 22 for the imminent health hazard of no hot water.
It was given 24 hours to fix the problem and was back to a zero-demerit A grade on June 23.
The corporate office said they had no comment.
Pho 88 is still the name on the outside, but the new name, as reflected in the health inspection, is Pho Mang Felix.
The new owners took over on March 1 but have already had issues with the Health District.
The restaurant on Rainbow between Robindale and Windmill was shut down June 24 because a drain was backing up into the kitchen.
The inspector said wastewater overflowed from a floor sink and they were dumping greasy water onto a back walkway and planter area.
Manager Kevin Lieu says staff didn’t even know there was an issue with the floor drain until the inspector turned on all the faucets at once, creating an abnormal circumstance that wouldn’t otherwise exist in the restaurant.
He said they had just opened and the previous night everything was fine, adding that they’d had service on the grease trap and plumbing recently.
Lieu says employees told him the previous owner had drain issues too but he thought everything was fixed during the recent service.
He believes this particular inspector “tries to shut restaurants down and doesn’t listen,” claiming the inspector has a bad reputation in the industry.
Lieu said he and his partner are just trying to make a living during this difficult time and there’s nothing dirty about the kitchen or the food.
The inspector says there were containers of noodles and cooked tofu in the temperature danger zone that had to be thrown out.
Lieu says they were using time as a temperature control and the food had barely been out of the fridge.
The only issue was not having it properly labeled.
The inspector also found a knife stored between two dirty lids and a deli slicer dirty with old food.
Plus, there was no designated person in charge on premises when the inspector arrived.
Pho Mang Felix was back to a 3-demerit A grade on July 1.
Click here to see the health report for China A Go Go - Losee.
Click here to see the complaint involving China A Go Go - Losee.
Click here to see the health report for Retreat on Charleston Peak.
Click here to see the complaint involving Retreat on Charleston Peak.
Click here to see the health report for Mang Felix.
Click here to see the health report for Green Valley Grocery #63 Snack Bar.