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DIRTY DINING: Hair in the fridge at Pho D'Licious

Posted at 10:45 PM, Sep 12, 2016

Hair in your food is bad enough, but hair in the fridge?!

That's just one violation exposed in the latest Dirty Dining at a location we've been to before.

As soon as we walked in to Pho D'Licious, we recognized the familiar surroundings at the Vietnamese restaurant on Spring Mountain Road between Arville Street and Decatur Boulevard.

Ngoc Tran says Pho D'Licious took over in May, and they've already almost been shut down with a 39-demerit C grade.

"We have a lot of, like, bad credit in the kitchen because the kitchen staff at first didn't, like, wash hands properly."

One food handler scratched the side of their head and then handled food. Another handled raw beef then went right to ready-to-eat food and clean bowls. 

There were also issues with the food.

"Some of the food inventory, some of the milk we had, to be honest, expired exactly the day before Thomas come in," Tran said.

Thomas -- with whom they're on a first-name basis -- is the health inspector who she says is helping their staff understand the rules.

"They used to working in a lot of kitchens, so they just doing things by habit, not by rule, so that's why I told them, because health inspection here and health department here really cares about, you know, like, the health of customers so that's why we cannot violate it," Tran asid.

They were preparing food in a sink next to dirty dishes, using a rusty cleaver and keeping a container of cut leafy greens next to their hot water heater. The fermented cabbage is stored in an electrical room.

"I think the reason why they store it in the electrical room is because that room is way hotter," Tran said.

They need the heat to speed up the pickling process, but the Health District reminded them that's simply not sanitary. 

Inspectors also found bean sprouts labeled "Wash before use" were not being washed at all, but taken directly from the bag to serve to customers. 

And in addition to dirty floors, there was pink slime in the ice machine. There was brown slime on the citrus juicers.

"The ice machine is right here. We clean it like two months ago," Tran said.

Which is clearly not enough. 

Also, the spice shelf was greasy and there was hair on a shelf in the reach-in refrigerator.

"To be honest, at that moment I wasn't here, so I didn't see, but they told me," Tran said.

Visibly dirty wiping cloths were sitting on prep surfaces. One was stored on top of lettuce. And equipment held together with tape was not cleanable. 

Tran says they're working to break the staff's bad habits and do their best to earn the A grade back.

Pho D'Licious still has a C. They're scheduled for re-inspection later this week.