LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Inspections are ramping up as more restaurants open up and that can make for more eateries landing on a Dirty Dining report.
In this week's report, there's an addition to a high-demerit restaurant, with four imminent health hazard closures reported and three of them involved pest infestations.
The highest demerits went to Luis Cocina on Rainbow and Oakey boulevards. It got a 36-demerit C grade on its June 2 inspection.
All hand sinks were inappropriately stocked and/or blocked when the health inspector arrived. One food handler, who did wash his hands, just used a stream of water with no soap.
A large carton of tomatillos was spoiled and moldy and there was unidentifiable black debris in a container of sugar.
The inspector wrote up a repeat violation for expired food - items the restaurant was holding past its seven-day shelf life. Cooked al pastor was also 11 days old, ham was two weeks old, loroco dated back to May 18, and egg batter to May 21.
Owner Araceli Sotelo says it was a labeling issue and that the food itself was not expired. It had been in the freezer.
But there were other issues with food. Shredded cheese and cooked chicken had to be thrown out because they were in the temperature danger zone.
A spoon handle was touching ready-to-eat pico de gallo.
Raw egg batter for french toast was stored above ready-to-eat salsa.
There was black mold on soda nozzles.
A fly in the kitchen landed on deli cups.
And the make table and oven handles were sticky.
Several pans, utensils, lids, pots, and a can opener in clean storage were dirty with old food. Sotelo says they hadn’t been working a lot so things didn’t get cleaned.
She decided to buy new stuff to replace a lot of items in the kitchen.
Luis Cocina still has a C grade. Sotelo says it’s scheduled for re-inspection on Monday.
She says she fixed everything, had to repair tiles and replace a faucet, and has been working very hard to make ends meet. Sotelo called the inspection “bad timing” as it happened while they were busy, saying, "I know we need to take care and pay more attention."
Tonkatsu Kiyoshi on Jones Boulevard and Robindale Road was shut down June 4 for a multi-generational cockroach infestation.
Inspectors following up on a complaint found the imminent health hazard after someone told the health district the restaurant stacks its empty boxes and food deliveries outside the back door, which attracts insects and rodents.
Live roaches are considered a gross unsanitary condition requiring a restaurant to immediately cease operations, but Tonkatsu Kiyoshi failed to self-close. Inspectors found roaches coming up through damaged floors, base coving, and holes in walls.
Other violations included mold in the ice machine and dirty, greasy equipment, walls, and ceilings.
Shelving was dirty with spiderwebs present and the fridge was also heavily soiled.
Floors were dirty with food debris and trash and some areas of standing water.
Cutting boards were stained and no longer cleanable.
Owner Meredith Wang says everything has been fixed. The restaurant was back to a zero-demerit A grade on June 10.
Wang says they did lots of maintenance patching walls and floors. “It was all our fault,” she acknowledged. “We didn’t do the best on cleaning and things slipped during the COVID-19 closure time. We appreciate the health inspector for opening our eyes and wish for everyone to stay safe and healthy.”
Habaneros Taco Grill #2 on Rainbow Boulevard, near Washington Avenue, was also shut down for a multi-generational, multi-species cockroach infestation.
The June 5 closure came after an inspector counted more than 70 roaches. They were in the dry storage area, crawling up kitchen walls and on floors, behind the soda machine, the cook line, and near the hand sink.
There were also numerous dead and dying roaches throughout the facility.
This is the second Habaneros location to be on Dirty Dining. The one on Centennial Parkway and Commerce Street was featured in November 2019.
In addition to the roaches, the inspector found expired food and dirty conditions.
Prepared rolled tacos were nearly two weeks old and there was a live moth inside a container of dried chilies.
Lots of food in the fridge was uncovered, including salsas, cubed meat, chili rellenos, cut cilantro, and potatoes. The inspector took particular note of the exposed food as it was during an active pest infestation.
The uncovered chili rellenos and cubed meats were also sitting under dusty insulation and peeling caulking.
Conditions contributing to the pest infestation included grease build-up behind and inside the deep fryer, holes in the grout, base coving and walls, and standing water and old food on floors.
Habaneros Taco Grill was ordered to fumigate, do a deep cleaning, make repairs and fill holes. It was back to a zero-demerit A grade on June 16.
Our message requesting comment was not immediately returned.
Yet another pest infestation caused closure at It’sugar at the Grand Bazaar Shops on Las Vegas Boulevard.
But this wasn’t roaches. Mice shut down the sweets shop on June 5.
The inspector discovered mouse feces throughout the back storage area, on the floor, and on product boxes.
There was also visible evidence of gnawing “on a multitude of products” including sour candy, chocolate, pop tarts, scorpion candies, gummy candies, and Rice Krispie treats.
All of it was pulled from shelves and thrown out.
It’sugar was back to a zero-demerit A grade on June 8.
"The health and safety of our customers and associates is our highest priority. We have a very successful track record with the Southern Nevada Health District and took immediate action when this issue was discovered. With the store and everything around it shut down for three months, there was time for things to happen with pests. Please know that this was very disappointing for us as things like this just don't happen in our stores," said Dino Martin, a company representative.
VeggiEat on Village Center Circle, near Summerlin Parkway and Town Center Drive, was shut down June 1 for operating without hot water.
Owner Victoria Plourde told the inspector the hot water went out two days prior and they’d been waiting to get it fixed. But, the facility was open and operating, which is not allowed during an imminent health hazard.
Elaine Chan, Plourde’s daughter and the restaurant’s manager, explained that they discovered the hot water issue late Saturday night and had the repair guy there when they were closed on Sunday.
Chan says he told them it was fine but on Monday morning they realized it wasn’t, so they called him to come back. While they were waiting for a part, the inspector came. They were preparing to open and hadn’t served any customers yet.
The inspection report also notes no prepared sanitizer during active food prep, cooked vegetables from the day before without date labels, and floors and walls that were dirty with old food.
Chan says they had hired someone to do a deep cleaning, but the cleaners didn’t focus on the walls. She said the things the inspector noted were stains, not new food debris.
VeggiEat reopened with a 5-demerit A grade on June 2.
Click here to see the health report for Luis Cocina #2.
Click here to see the health report for Tonkatsu Kiyoski.
Click here to see the health report for Habaneros Taco Grill #2.
Click here to see the health report for Veggieat.
Click here to see the health report for It's Sugar @ Grand Bazaar.