LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — As we enter Pho O.C., we spy the "C" grade up on the wall, partially obscured behind a board.
The Dirty Dining repeat offender on Sahara Avenue and Buffalo Drive had its latest downgrade on March 31.
When we went to speak to the owner, we found her seated in the back with Health District officials in the midst of an intervention training.
Intervention training is required when a restaurant has a history of failed routine inspections. It's a step in the Health District's probationary process for places in danger of losing their permit to operate.
Pho O.C.'s critical issues included six hand-washing violations: some employees repeatedly touched their eyeglasses and adjusted their masks while preparing food. Others touched raw beef then garnishes and made bleach sanitizer, then handled basil without a hand wash. When they did wash, two didn’t bother to use soap.
The owner sent employee Tram Vu outside where we were waiting to tell us, "They don't want to talk about anything, and they don't want the camera."
They're talking to health inspectors about a food handler prepping food in the dirty three-compartment sink while it was full of dirty dishes. Black particles floated on top of the noodle water.
There were moldy, slimy greens in the fridge.
A dirty, peeling cooler bag sat on top of clean lettuce and an open bag of daikon radish and flats of eggs were stored on the cooler floor.
Sanitizer was stored in an unlabeled pitcher in the service bar.
"I know that it's nothing dirty like some other places," said Vu.
Inspectors say a dirty deli slicer, can opener, and strainers were stored as clean.
Dirty gloves touched clean equipment.
A food handler wiped down counters with a dirty towel.
And dishes were rinsed and re-used without any sanitizer.
There were additional violations for half-eaten bread on the make table and employee food commingled with customer food in the fridge and on a prep table. Vu says current inspectors are enforcing the health code differently than their predecessors when it comes to employee food.
"So, some things are confusing."
But other things should not be, like improper hand-washing, moldy food, and dirty conditions in the kitchen.
In fact, many of the current violations mirror those from last May when Pho O.C. was first on Dirty Dining.
"But everybody says (our restaurant) is very nice, very good," emphasized Vu.
Other violations included exposed raw beef in plastic grocery bags in the freezer, and a red mesh plastic produce bag being re-used as a cooking pouch in boiling soup.
Because of Pho O.C.'s documented history of non-compliant inspections, they face possible permit suspension pending revocation if they fail to maintain an "A" grade.
A1 Mobile Catering is also a Dirty Dining repeat offender.
Its #16 truck was shut down for an imminent health hazard on March 31 when inspectors found sewage leaking onto the ground.
Owner Gerrie Aguirre says a pipe broke under the hand sink and they didn’t realize it was leaking until inspectors arrived.
There were also pans of chicken wings and tenders in the temperature danger zone and a person in charge who was not knowledgeable about food-borne illness.
Aguirre says she put up educational posters in all her trucks and that the one in question re-opened within hours with a zero-demerit "A" grade.
Click here to see the health report for Pho O.C.
Click here to see the health report for A-1 Mobile Catering #16.