LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Curry Leaf Flavors of India on Fort Apache and Tropicana was first on Dirty Dining shortly after it opened in 2016.
Now, it's back after being shut down Nov. 26.
Darcy Spears: We're here because you guys are on Dirty Dining for the imminent health hazard closure that you had from the Health District due to the cockroach infestation and we came by to make sure we got your side of the story and hope you can tell us about what happened with that.
Person in charge: It was not cockroaches. We had a water leak in the kitchen.
Darcy: Well, this is the health report and you see what it says right there? Gross unsanitary occurrence or condition including pest infestation.
Person in charge: I cannot talk about this.
Inspectors documented a multi-generational cockroach infestation.
Roaches were coming through ceiling tiles, on the magnetic knife strip, on walls over prep surfaces, on shelves with food containers, around the hand sink, in the ware washing area, underside of tables and crawling on kitchen floors.
"The whole building has a problem with the cockroach issue," said Chef Kumar Veera.
On inspection day, the person in charge told the Health District the same thing and said, "The landlord is planning on having the entire plaza treated."
Curry Leaf provided records showing they'd had a pest control treatment that very morning.
Darcy: I know there have been some issues with the landlord but the health inspection also says that there were issues in the kitchen with a lot of food debris and grease and conditions that would invite the roaches to stay because stuff was not clean.
Kumar: No, that wasn't happening in the kitchen.
Except it was.
We read him the list of violations in the health report including: excessive grease build-up on all cookline equipment, fryer cabinets with excessive food debris and grease, excessively dirty floors, walls, ceilings and shelving.
"That day I was not there working," said Chef Kumar, "So maybe, I don't know about that."
Inspectors also found cooked potatoes at unsafe temperatures and employee food intermingled with food for customers throughout the kitchen.
Kumar took us back to show us how things have changed, but we immediately noticed what appeared to be a repeat violation -- dirty wiping cloths sitting on a cutting board.
He says the cloths are sanitized, actively in use and will be moved when they're done cooking.
Then, he showed us a picture on his phone from inspection day showing fire damage due to electrical issues and rain.
Kumar says electrical issues and water leaks have been their main problem. But he says they'd gotten everything cleaned up and quickly fixed.
In fact, they were ready for re-inspection the next day, but had to stay closed because they couldn't get health inspectors to come back due to the Thanksgiving holiday.
"Long weekend, holiday, people are expecting to spend money with their family but we don't get any business," said Kumar. "And when we can't come to work, we don't get paid, so everybody had issues."
Curry Leaf reopened with a zero-demerit A grade on Dec. 3.
Poke Poku on Rainbow and Warm Springs got the highest demerits with a 24-demerit C grade on Nov. 25
A food handler was slicing produce with bare hands and a cutting board was not being sanitized.
It was back to a zero-demerit A grade on Nov. 26 and the owner said they worked quickly to get everything fixed and cleaned up.
But he added that he believes inspectors are too picky and seemed to be looking for violations just so they could get enough for a C downgrade and the accompanying $477.00 fee. He says his restaurant did not deserve that many demerits.
This is the second Poke Poku to be on Dirty Dining. The location on Stephanie and Wigwam was featured in May, 2018.
Click here for report on Curry Leaf Flavors of India.
Click here for report on Poke Poku Restaurant.