LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Giant soup pots, huge containers of soft boiled eggs, bowls of broth and strainers full of steaming noodles.
It's clear we're in the kitchen of a ramen restaurant.
Today is a good day. Much better than than the one health inspectors saw.
"I don't know how we got that C grade," said Jinya Ramen Bar Manager Regan Fung. "It was a lot lower than what we expected. At most, we should've gotten like a low A."
Instead, Jinya Ramen on Rainbow and Warm Springs got a low C on its Oct. 29 inspection with 36 demerits -- Just one critical violation away from shutdown.
"You guys [Jinya Ramen] are a real popular place, so I know it had to be tough for you," said 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears. "What happened?"
"So, basically some of the equipment -- I guess it wasn't approved," Fung said, adding that they'd been doing things the same way for the year that they've been in this new location.
"When we were using it prior, it was approved. But now it's not approved. So I guess we didn't get the memo."
Jinya Ramen's original location on Flamingo and Decatur has also been on Dirty Dining -- and for many of the same violations.
Pork, corn and sprouts were held in the temperature danger zone.
Chicken sat thawing on a counter for about an hour and a half at a dangerously unsafe temperature.
And there was a repeat violation for soup that was improperly cooled.
"And you guys had to throw a lot of stuff out because of that," Spears pointed out.
"So because this is a new facility, we've had a lot of issue with our A/C unit, our refrigerators and everything breaking down," Fung explained.
There was also a breakdown in following health code rules about handwashing.
A food handler wearing soiled gloves contaminated with raw chicken juice touched the fridge handle. Dirty handles present a high risk of contaminating other employees' hands.
"We didn't do anything super bad," said Fung. "Everything was kept super safe the entire time."
"A lot of little issues can rack up big demerits," said Spears. "Health inspectors did note that there were dirty conditions in the kitchen -- the walls, the floors, the equipment."
"Yeah, so I guess we haven't been keeping up with our cleaning schedule as often recently because during summer time it wasn't as busy," said Fung.
Inspectors wrote up a repeat violation for dirty utensils and pans in clean storage.
A food handler used dirty wiping cloths without sanitizer to clean prep tables.
The strainer was torn with exposed wires.
And there was mold in the ice machine.
"I apologize that we got a C," said Fung. "That should never have happened. Right now we do have an A. The food is still delicious. Everything should be the same. I hope that everyone still comes out to dine with us."
Jinya got its A grade back with zero demerits on Nov. 8.
Across town at Del Taco on Charleston and Shadow Lane, inspectors discovered rodent droppings near the ice machine and freezer.
Even though the inspection says, "5-10 rodent droppings observed in back of house area nearest to ice machine and double door reach-in freezer," Del Taco Manager Magie Valdez claims the inspector wasn't sure they were droppings because she didn't have her flashlight.
But the inspector's pictures document the droppings, and Del Taco was ordered to do an immediate pest control treatment.
Even so, rats are not why Del Taco was shut down on Oct. 29.
Inadequate refrigeration was the imminent health hazard there.
Just about everything on the menu was in the temperature danger zone and had to be thrown out: shredded cheese, cut tomatoes, sour cream, carnitas, shredded lettuce, raw ground beef patties, ice cream mix and raw chicken.
The manager said she'd already placed a work order on the malfunctioning fridge and was waiting for service when the health inspector arrived. She said she was not aware she was required to self-close and report the imminent health hazard to the Health District.
There was also heavy grease buildup on the grill and equipment wheels.
Fridge shelves and floors were dirty with trash and old food that hadn't been cleaned up.
And the make table was a mess.
Valdez acknowledged those issues and said they worked quickly to clean up their kitchen.
Del Taco was back to a zero-demerit A grade on Oct. 30.
The manager once again denied they had rodents, saying recent pest control records proved it. And according to the inspection, pest services received on Oct. 25 "do not indicate pest sightings or droppings observed." The health inspection that documented the droppings took place on Oct. 29.
Click here to see the health report for Jinya Ramen Bar Restaurant.
Click here to see the health report for Del Taco.