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DIRTY DINING: Close race between Mint Indian Bistro, Pinoy-Pinay

Posted at 10:45 PM, Nov 09, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-10 02:43:35-05

Like many races on Election Day, the race for the top Dirty Dining spot was too close to call. 

The candidates were separated by such a slim margin that Darcy Spears decided to give us a Dirty Dining two-fer.

We begin on Flamingo Road and Swenson Street at Mint Indian Bistro -- topping the Dirty Dining list with a 33-demerit C grade.

When we ask the person in charge to give us their side of the story, they bring out the chef and usher us out to the patio.

"Just temperature on the food. Nothing else for the other things," Chef Vel Murugan said.

But there is is a five-page long health report so it does talk about more than just food temperatures.

There was a ton of stuff in the temperature danger zone. Chicken, potatoes, rice, sauce, veggies and raw shrimp. Plus tomato soup, cheese and a mashed bean dish. All of it was tossed in the trash. 

But inspectors also found three containers of utensils stored in dirty water, a dirty towel in direct contact with food and yellow slime in the ice machine and on fridge racks.

Food wasn't date-labeled. 

There was water pooling in cracked tiles on the floor and splashes and food debris all over the outlets and wall behind a tub of potatoes.

What should their customers think?

"Uh, we are really unhappy for this one," Murugan said. "So, we say to them we gonna do that properly and handling for the food and the temperatures."

When we ask to bring our camera in the kitchen, we get a puzzled look and a decisive, "No!" from the chef.

Pinoy-Pinay Filipino restaurant on Sahara Avenue and Maryland Parkway was just one demerit behind with 32 and a C grade. 

"Yeah, I know it's not good. But what you can do?" said owner Ismael Trinidad.

Trinidad says his restaurant is old and some things need to be fixed. 

But that doesn't explain the dirty cutting boards, equipment and pipes soiled with black grease, oil and food debris. Or the floors that were just plain filthy. 

Trinidad says the health inspector took them by surprise.

Inspectors found fried pork skins, rice, pork and flan at unsafe temperatures. Raw shrimp was stored above ready to eat pork and raw mussels over yams and other condiments. Fried fish was left out too long and spinach was expired.

There was 10-day-old spinach that they found.

"Actually, because, you know -- that's a vegetable -- I never expect that there is an expiration," Trinidad said.

We were particularly curious about a knife that lost its tip. But we don't know how it happened.

Both of the imminent health hazard closures came at Swish in Chinatown on Spring Mountain Road near Decatur Boulevard

The restaurant and sushi bar were shut down because of a cockroach infestation. 

Inspectors saw roaches all over the kitchen -- on walls, shelves and sinks. They were also crawling around the colander and other hanging utensils. 

In the sushi bar, a glue trap looked like a roach life-cycle display with bugs of every size.

Swish and Mint Indian Bistro both got their A grades back. 

Pinoy-Pinay still has a C.