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Rats at Food Express, plus Crepe Station, Tacos Los Toritos and more on Dirty Dining

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Posted at 5:04 PM, Aug 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-06 13:37:12-04

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — The menu for this week’s Dirty Dining includes a rat infestation at a repeat offender restaurant, continued failures, and non-compliance at a breakfast joint with a tie for the highest demerits.

Food Express, a Chinese seafood restaurant on Decatur and Oakey boulevards, is a Dirty Dining repeat offender.

Dirty Dining | 13 Action News

It was shut down on July 24 for an ongoing rat infestation.

There were rat feces and urine on top of canned goods, and more feces inside a bin of dried chili peppers as well as on the floor and under the cookline, where there was also accumulated old food.

Rats had gnawed on a bag of onions

Stalactites of grease hung under the fryers, dish racks were dirty with old food and floor sinks were filthy.

An employee’s drink, mask, and cell phone were stored with food and on a customer food contact surface.

The rat infestation was so bad that the inspector told Food Express to remove all shelving in dry storage for proper cleaning and to address structural issues. The inspector also told the restaurant to contact property management to tell them about the rat issue since Food Express is next door to an empty/closed restaurant.

Food Express was back to an 8-demerit A grade on July 29.

A message was left for the owner. However, the call was not returned.

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Crepe Station on Charleston and Decatur boulevards is on the Southern Nevada Health District’s watch list due to continued non-compliance and multiple C downgrades within the last 12 months.

Its most recent issue came on July 20 after the health district validated a customer complaint.

It also failed re-inspection from a previous C grade.

The customer who filed the complaint wrote, “While I was eating my crepes, my strawberries still had dirt since they weren’t washed properly. And when I went to make a complaint to the cashier, I saw a rat run across the floor. I also was not able to see the letter grade. I believe they have it hidden from customers.”

The inspector confirmed that the C grade card was not posted and wrote, ”Food employee was unable to provide a reason as to why the grade card was not posted in its usual location.” The inspector concluded that the grade card had been moved and obstructed so that customers could not see it.

The inspector did not see any rats or dirty food when he was there but did note other violations.

A large container of crepe batter had to be thrown out due to unsafe temperature and dirty utensils were found sitting in standing, contaminated water.

A knife handle was touching sliced tomatoes and raw eggs were stored over lettuce.

13 Action News was unable to reach anyone by phone for comment and did not receive a response via email.

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It’s another tie for the highest demerits with two restaurants earning 35-demerit C grades.

What jumps out about both places is how much food had to be thrown in the garbage, which is hard to hear when so many Nevadans are struggling to feed their families.

But that’s what happens when a restaurant fails to handle food safely.

Tacos Los Toritos on Twain Avenue and University Center Drive got a 35-demerit C grade on its July 20 inspection.

There were expired salsa and tomato puree in the fridge.

Beef had to be thrown out because it wasn’t cooled properly and that was noted as a repeat violation.

Lots of food sat at unsafe temperatures including green salsa, folded tacos, shredded chicken, raw eggs, chorizo, Mekas, and raw tilapia. All of it had to be thrown out.

Fish, vegetables, Menudo, onions, and cilantro were all uncovered in the walk-in cooler and subject to potential contamination.

Tilapia was thawing in one compartment of the three-compartment sink while the others were filled with chemicals and dirty dishes.

More of the fish was thawing on a dirty landing in a pool of blood.

There was no prepared sanitizer during open food prep. That only happened after the inspector got there.

The deli slicer was dirty with dried old food.

The fryer and inside of metal cabinets were dirty and caked with grease build-up.

The inspector noted a strong sewer odor inside the seating area that got progressively stronger. The person in charge said many neighboring facilities are vacant, which may be causing the stench.

Tacos Los Toritos also got a C on its previous health inspection. Due to consecutive downgrades during routine inspections, the restaurant will have to undergo intervention training with the health district.

As of Wednesday, it still had a C grade, with a call for comment not returned.

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La Flor Es Michoacan on Eastern Avenue and Flamingo Road got its 35-demerit C grade on July 22.

A food handler cut ready-to-eat onions with bare hands.

A container of cooked rice and another of cooked Carne pozole were both expired and had to be thrown out.

A large bowl of cooked pork and a container of cooked ground beef - both deep in the temperature danger zone - also had to be thrown out.

Raw beef was stored over salsa.

A scoop handle was buried in ready-to-eat Cotija cheese.

Uncovered pots of beef and cooked corn in the fridge were subject to potential contamination.

A food handler did not wash strawberries or spinach before cutting them.

Multiple food handlers were not wearing masks in the kitchen.

Owner Luis Avila says he just opened about a month ago and is trying to get things up and running while being understaffed during the pandemic. He also said the inspection was “a good kick in the right direction” from the health district and he’s looking forward to re-inspection.

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Click here to see the health report for Food Express.

Click here to see the health report for Crepe Station.

Click here to see the heath report for Tacos Los Toritos.

Click here to see the health report for La Flor Es Michoacan.