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Chop Chop Wok lands on Dirty Dining after customer finds steel wool in food

Plus, Margaritaville and Maria's Taco Shop
Posted at 11:28 PM, Aug 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-15 10:46:54-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — "I was just watching your program last night saying, 'Oh we are so lucky we didn't end up on the show!'" said Chop Chop Wok manager Leo Lin to Darcy Spears after she arrived to do just that -- put his restaurant on Dirty Dining.

Chop Chop Wok on Cheyenne Avenue and Rainbow Boulevard got a 38-demerit C grade on July 31 after inspectors validated a complaint from a customer who wrote, "I ordered dinner for my family from Chop Chop Wok. As I was eating, I felt something poking the inside of my mouth and I pulled out a piece of metal. It appears it is a piece of steel wool."

Health inspectors saw the cook using steel wool to scrape woks with hot water after each customer order. Two pads in use were excessively frayed and dirty with old food.

"Everything on the report is correct," said Lin. "I don't deny."

Lin says he fired the cook who was responsible for the problem and is looking to hire new staff who will be more careful.

"It shouldn't happen but it did. We just have to let them know -- change your steel wool more often."

Other things inspectors saw included a food handler who cracked raw eggs with bare hands, wiped them on his work shirt and resumed cooking.

Also, the waitress didn't wash her hands. After clearing dirty dishes from tables, she took new orders and prepared food.

"We have our faults," said Lin. "I admit that. But we're gonna improve it."

Leo says he's embarrassed by his staff's failures and worries about their regular customers.

"They're like our friends, our family. So we don't want to do anything to hurt them."

Containers of chow mein, pooled eggs and rice noodles had to be thrown out on inspection day due to unsafe temperatures.

So did a tray of fried pork after inspectors found it on the floor.

Raw beef was next to raw chicken in the same container.

Tubes of employee medication were intermingled with food.

And floors were excessively dirty with old food and grease.

Speaking of old food, inspectors found six heads of spoiled cabbage.

About that, Lin said, "I've been lazy. So I always order a case of cabbage and we didn't put it in the refrigerator."

He plans to buy less product now so it all fits in the fridge. He'll also be doing a deep cleaning after inspectors found walls excessively soiled with black stains.

"Because the air conditioner and the swamp cooler blew in so we just have to make sure we clean it more often."

He says they're doing their best to improve their kitchen, but didn't want it on camera.

"It's not perfect so I don't want to show you," he told Darcy Spears.

But he is getting ready to show health inspectors when they come back next week.

"And hopefully you get your A grade back and this is the only time you see us, right?" Spears asked.

"I hope I never see you in my restaurant but I always watch you on TV," Lin responded with a laugh.


Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville at the Flamingo hotel-casino had to close a food prep area on July 29 after inspectors validated a complaint that the restaurant had no hot water.

There were also large flies throughout the restaurant.

A manager told us they had another kitchen area to work in at the time so service was not interrupted.

The issue was quickly fixed and they were back to a zero-demerit A on July 30.


Maria's Taco Shop on Eastern Avenue and Warm Springs was shut down July 30 after failing re-inspection from a previous C grade.

Violations included many potentially hazardous foods at unsafe temperatures and food improperly stored.

The owner said a refrigerator unit failed and it was "just a bad luck day."

It was back to a zero-demerit A grade on July 31.


Click here to see the health report for Chop Chop Wok

Click here to see the complaint for Chop Chop Wok

Click here to see the health report for Margaritaville

Click here to see the complaint for Margaritaville

Click here to see the health report for Maria's Taco Shop