LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As Kermit the frog likes to say, "It isn't easy being green." In tonight's Dirty Dining, there was something green in a restaurant's refrigerator that made health inspectors uneasy. 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears talks spoiled food, expired food and unsanitary conditions.
Rusty Putter on East Lake Mead Parkway in Henderson got a 40-demerit C grade--just one point short of shutdown--on December 3 after inspectors found some of the beef was definitely not up to par.
Green is good on a golf course, but not on a roast. Two beef roasts in the Rusty Putter fridge were turning green.
And green peppers are supposed to be green, but one in the make table was partially black. It had been sliced and was partially used.
There was also a bag of carrots and spoiled salad on the cook line that was brown and beginning to liquefy.
Other unwholesome food included 10-day-old pancake mix and 9-day-old made-in-house spinach dip, plus a container of milk that was four days expired.
Employees at the restaurant said the owner was out of town and promised they'd get him a message, but we didn't get a call back.
The part-time chef said they regularly watch and learn from Dirty Dining.
They even had channel 13 news on the TV above the bar when we arrived, but no one wanted to be on camera or discuss their C grade.
Other violations contributing to that C grade were chicken wings, chicken soup, sliced tomatoes, shredded cheese and cooked chicken that all had to be thrown out due to unsafe temperatures.
A food handler didn't adequately wash hands after handling raw meat and the dishwasher was red-tagged because it was not sanitizing.
The bottom of the reach-in cooler was dirty with heavy dried food debris as were the areas behind and beneath the grill.
And, the person in charge was not knowledgeable about food safety.
Rusty putter still has a C. They said they've already fixed all the violations and are scheduled for re-inspection next week.
But it's not the only place where the dining was dirty.
Arata Sushi and Bowl on Tenaya and Cheyenne was shut down December 4 after the Health District verified a customer complaint about an employee handling cooked food with bare hands.
The complaint said "He would pick up fried shrimp with bare hands, walk over to the sushi maker and throw it onto the plate. When I told the server, she told him and he looked at me with a dirty look and continued to work without gloves."
The customer added that they wouldn't have filed the complaint if the employee had simply corrected the issue and put on gloves.
When the inspector arrived to investigate the complaint, she found the cook preparing cooked mussels with bare hands, which the manager then had to throw out.
During the inspection that followed, other violations were documented including an imminent health hazard. There was no access in the main kitchen to a hand sink.
The only hand sink in the kitchen was turned off because the pipe had broken off the wall. The only other hand sink is in the extreme front corner of the sushi bar and it had no soap.
All employees were seen washing their hands in the three-compartment sink next to clean dishes.
Inspectors documented improper handwashing and raw meat and fish stored above rice, drinks and sauce.
The reach-in cooler at the sushi bar had cut fruit and drinks below raw fish and there was an open bag of tempura batter mix stored in the mop room on top of a baby seat.
More than 12 bottles of sauce made in-house had no expiration dates on their containers, all in-use utensils were stored in standing water, cardboard was being used as a shelf liner in sushi bar and there was a large burn mark on a wall in the kitchen.
Arata was back to a 6-demerit A grade the next day.
The owner said they worked hard to fix everything including re-educating and reminding staff about wearing gloves and the importance of cleanliness and protecting public health so that this does not happen again.
The other imminent health hazard closure came at Solomon Schechter Day School on Banbury Cross and Town Center in Summerlin.
The elementary school kitchen was closed due to "Grossly unsanitary conditions." It also got 33 demerits on December 4.
Food prep tables and the range top were contaminated with leftover food waste.
The Health District found three large 30-gallon trash cans filled beyond capacity with food waste and cooking oil spilling onto the kitchen floor.
Old cardboard boxes filled with trash and food waste were being stored inside the kitchen next to the sink.
The school was using an un-permitted contractor for food catering service.
Spoiled, unknown and unlabeled food items in fridge included "What appeared to be cut melon wrapped in plastic, spoiled cucumber and other unknown items."
There was an open, uncovered can of marinara sauce in fridge, cans of butane stored next to hot dog buns and onions and dirty kitchen ware and utensils from the previous day's food service still sitting in the sink.
Dried and spoiled food waste covered floors throughout the kitchen, as well as prep tables and the range top.
The reach-in fridge, warming oven and ware wash machine were not operational, sink and drain boards were dirty as were floors and the floor drain, which was clogged with food waste.
Head of School Stan Byner says they'd been outsourcing lunches since November, but then brought in an outside caterer who kept a kosher kitchen, which meant school officials didn't have access to the kitchen and were not aware of the conditions.
Recently, it became clear that the caterer wasn't performing so he was given a warning, but failed to clean up. Shortly thereafter, the Health District showed up and shut the kitchen down.
Byner says the entire school is closing for good this week due to financial difficulties.
Health District documents: