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Dirty Dining: Two restaurants tie for top spot

Posted at 10:45 PM, Mar 30, 2016

It's a tie this week for the dirtiest dining and whether you live in Las Vegas or Henderson, you're represented. 

Famous mobsters Al Capone and Charles "Lucky" Luciano keep watch outside Capo's restaurant.  But the intimidating exterior might not be as big a threat as what health inspectors found in the kitchen.

"Don't have that look on your face. Come on," Darcy Spears said to the surprised host.  "We just need to talk to whoever's in charge to get your side of the story."

Host: Alright.  Let me get the chef.

We wait in the restaurant's extremely dark entry, where Chef Nef comes to greet us.

"I want to be on TV, but not like this!" he says, laughing.

The 34-demerit C grade given to Capo's on Sahara near Lindell is no laughing matter. 

One look at their cutting boards and you'll know why, making it pretty clear why the inspector wrote -- in all caps -- to wash, rinse and sanitize food contact surfaces every few hours.

Darcy Spears: There's one cutting board that actually looked like it was burned and melted into a charred lump.
Chef Nef: That was--it's close to the fire but no food touch it.  It's not a food contact surface.
Darcy: Well, a cutting board by nature is a food contact surface.
Chef: But we don't use it for that purpose.  We use it just for like a table.

There was severe dust accumulation on wires hanging directly over clean plates. 

Health inspectors also found vents with extremely heavy dust build-up blowing directly on open food, a filthy handsink, and a can opener and meat slicer blade stored with dried food debris.

"The meat slicer, they was using it when the health department came," said Chef Nef. "So what they did is they walk away from the blade and they let it sit because they want to take care of everything else."

Milk, cheese, tomatoes and sour cream sauce were in the temperature danger zone. 

Floors, walls and equipment were dirty.

And the person in charge was not knowledgeable about basic food safety and sanitation.

Chef Nef wasn't there on inspection day but says he demanded answers from his staff.

"A lot of people say they get nervous, a lot of people they don't know what to do, they don't want to talk too much because they don't want to get in trouble."

We saw new cutting boards and ongoing cleaning as Capo's gets ready for re-inspection.  

"It's not a car building, it's not a mechanic, it's food that the customer put in the stomach," said Chef Nef. "And I want the customer to come here and be sure the food is clean and we trying to keep it the most clean we can for health code."

Across town in Henderson on Eastern near Sunridge Heights is Thai Thai, which tied for the top Dirty Dining spot with another 34-demerit C grade. 

They had to throw out a large container of curry cooked the day before because it was at an unsafe temperature. 

Raw meats and eggs were co-mingled with sauces and ready to eat foods. 

Dirty dishes were found in clean storage, and they were also storing dishes face down on dirty shelves. 

In fact, the words dirty, greasy and dusty appear in this report a combined total of 11 times.

Darcy Spears: I just need to talk to the person in charge.
Employee: Um, he go out to buy some stuff...
D: Okay, so, who's in charge right now?
Employee: Um... It's me.
Darcy: Can you tell me anything about this? Like why you guys got so many demerits on this health inspection?

He can't tell me anything, but promises we'll get a call back from the guy who can. 

That call never came.

Thai Thai is back to an A grade. 

Capo's will be re-inspected this week.

Statement on behalf of Capo's and Nico Santucci:

"Capo's ownership and Executive Chef Nef Castillo hired me, Chef Linda Burns, as their food safety consultant. They have addressed the issues and have hired me to re-train all front and back of House employees on current SNHD regulations. Capo's is dedicated to providing safe, delicious food for all their guests, and moving forward, Capo's will make food safety as much of a priority as great taste, excellent service and a fun atmosphere."

Look Darcy up on Facebook with your dirty dining questions. 

And if you're hungry for more, watch our behind the scenes digital extras.