LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's been a while since we've had a new member of the Dirty Dining 50-plus club. That's a short list of places with so many demerits they deserve their own special recognition.
Tonight, Darcy Spears delivers a new one as part of a Dirty Dining combo platter that includes a convenience store and a high-end restaurant inside a strip hotel/casino.
All joking aside about a restaurant inside a gas station, the number of demerits at Mariscos El Tapatio was quite serious.
The small, cash only eatery on Pyle and Maryland Parkway is inside an Arco AM/PM convenience store. It was shut down with 55 demerits on May 14 after inspectors found cooked carrots covered in mold, expired hominy, chorizo and ham and fryer baskets extremely dirty with old food and built up grease.
Other violations at Mariscos el Tapatio included a lot of potentially hazardous foods at unsafe temperatures. Carnitas, chorizo, ham, sausage, broth, salsa, queso, pozole, raw beef, el pastor, raw chicken, fish and beans all had to be thrown out.
There was also unwashed avocado mixed in with cut onion and a food handler washing dirty dishware over clean equipment. Some prepared foods were not date labeled and the cook line and steam table were dirty.
Despite all that, the restaurant reopened the next day with a zero-demerit A grade. Owner Sergio Valencia told us he doesn't speak English and although we asked, none of the customers would agree to help translate.
Swinging from one end of the spectrum to another, we've got a high-end restaurant on the strip that narrowly avoided shut down for excessive demerits.
Il Mulino New York at Caesars Palace got a 38-demerit C grade on May 16.
Inspectors saw a food handler touching ready to eat bread with bare hands and multiple foods were held past their seven-day shelf life including house-made bolognese and house-made chicken stock.
Lots of food was uncovered or improperly stored, making it subject to cross-contamination. One example? Cooked spinach was cooling in a sink next to soapy water and sanitizer.
Also, can opener blades and slicers were dirty with old food debris and there were multiple small flies throughout the facility.
Il Mulino previously got a C grade on its unannounced inspection this same time last year. Inspectors warned the restaurant that failure to pass the next one may result in further administrative action.
The manager said they've put new measures in place with all their staff to fix what he called silly mistakes that shouldn't have happened. He said they've undergone intervention training with the Health District and feel like they're on top of things now. He said corrective action has been taken with all staff members that were "caught napping."
Il Mulino still has a C grade and is working to schedule reinspection with the Health District.
Tacos Colima food truck is a Dirty Dining repeat offender and our only imminent health hazard closure.
Its #4 truck was shut down on May 15 for inadequate refrigeration and gross, unsanitary conditions.
Inspectors discovered approximately 10 pounds of raw beef on the truck that was rancid and spoiled with brownish-black rot and a putrid smell.
Flies were landing on ready to eat onions, avocado and on cutting boards.
Fly tape with many dead flies on it was hanging directly above food.
And a package of raw pork was submerged in dirty water.
Tacos Colima was back to a zero-demerit A grade the next day. We couldn't reach anyone there for comment.
There's one more high-demerit restaurant to tell you about: 2 Scoops of Aloha on Paradise near Tropicana. It got a 38-demerit C grade on May 15.
Violations included improper handwashing, a repeat violation for expired food including chili, cooked chicken, stew and more, a large pot of rice at an unsafe temperature and four containers of in-use utensils stored in dirty water.
There was also a dirty knife stored as clean and other utensils had food debris on them, including the cutting board.
Utensils were not being sanitized, there was no hot water in the restroom and there was food debris and grease build-up on surfaces, walls, containers, floors and inside the fridge.
2 Scoops of Aloha still has a C grade. Owner Chad Walter says they're working to schedule reinspection. Walter also said this is his third inspection and he's had different inspectors every time which has resulted in inconsistency. He said things that were not previously considered violations led to demerits this time around and he just wishes the Health District would be consistent.
He apologizes to his customers that this happened but says it's all corrected, cleaned up and they're ready for reinspection.