LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — John Zhu of Little Dumpling was not surprised to see us when we walked in to ask him about his restaurant's recent closure.
Little Dumpling on Sky Pointe Drive and Centennial Parkway was shut down for an imminent health hazard on Sept. 27 after inspectors validated a customer complaint about cockroaches in the dining area.
There were multi-generational, multi-species roaches in the kitchen, too, plus what the health inspector called "severely excessive" accumulated build-up of old food debris and grease under equipment throughout the facility, including customer dining areas.
The wok station, catch pans, walls and ceilings were also excessively dirty.
So were handles and gaskets for all refrigeration units and dry storage shelves, complete with spider webs.
"It looked as if things had not been cleaned in quite some time in the kitchen and they said those conditions contributed to the roaches being here," Spears said to Zhu. "So what was going on with your clean-up process?"
"This is an old restaurant -- over 15 years -- so there are some dirty things on the floor that are hard to clean," Zhu said, explaining that he hired a deep cleaning team to take care of those problem areas.
"And now it's good."
As for the food: noodles, fried chicken and crispy wontons were stored in grocery store plastic bags.
Stained, used bamboo skewers were wrapped for reuse in a box with new skewers.
There was mold in the ice machine and an excessively dirty can opener blade, peanut spoon and cutting board.
Food in the fridge was left uncovered and subject to contamination.
And speaking of potential contamination, an employee's plate of rice was stored directly on top of cooked noodles for customers.
Zhu says he's committed to ensuring things never get that bad again.
"Right now I will do an inspection every day by myself. Because I own another restaurant in Chinatown, I sometimes run between both and now I will spend most of my time here and it will be much better."
Little Dumpling was back to a zero-demerit A grade on Sept. 30.
There was no imminent health hazard at Kabob Kitchen Mediterranean grill on Cheyenne and Hualapai, but it did have the highest demerits -- a 39-demerit C grade -- on Sept. 26.
Cut leafy greens, sour cream dressing and hummus were in the temperature danger zone and had to be thrown out.
Inspectors saw the waitress take money, bus tables and pick up new food orders without washing her hands.
They also had to throw out chunks of grilled chicken after the inspector saw the owner, David, use bare hands to cut them up.
When we arrived, David was not there and the person in charge said he didn't know anything about the health inspection.
He said, "We had our re-inspection. It's good. Everything is fine now."
But when we asked where the new grade card was, he pointed to the C grade, which was mostly hidden behind some other paperwork.
When we pointed that out, he corrected himself and said they'll actually be reinspected next week.
"Do you want to tell me what you guys have done to get things ready for re-inspection?" Spears asked.
"I have no idea," he answered.
The other violations they needed to correct include undercooked chicken tenders for kabobs, trash bags covering chicken and beef in the cooler, and excessively dirty can openers and floors.
One of the food handlers did not have a health card.
And the person in charge wore his apron into the restroom.
In the health report, the inspector wrote that "During review... the owner became irritated and stated [he wanted] inspectors who are older and more experienced."
He believes his currently assigned inspector isn't qualified, so he "refused to sign [the] report and walked away."
Click here to see the health report for Kabob Kitchen Mediterranean.
Click here to see the health report for Little Dumpling Restaurant.