When you eat raw foods, you're really putting your health in someone else's hands--making it extra scary when a sushi restaurant tops the Dirty Dining list.
Opening the restaurant door, Contact 13 Chief Investigator Darcy Spears asked, "Who wants to help me? Who's in charge?"
No one at Sushi 21 really wanted to talk to us. The restaurant on Tropicana and Decatur tried to downplay their 34-demerit C grade.
"We have not really problem, but only to the hot water machine. It just little bit problem," said the sushi chef. "We fixed it already."
Darcy: Yeah, they did note that there was an issue with the water, but they also wrote up a lot of stuff was dirty--food contact surfaces, cutting boards, can openers...
Chef: No, not dirty.
Dirty scoop handles in food had visible, dried food debris.
Dirty slicers, strainers, cups and pans were stored as clean.
The walk-in floor was dirty. And so was equipment and bulk containers.
Maybe they don't know dirty because according to inspectors, the person in charge was not knowledgeable regarding proper procedure for cleaning utensils, food surfaces and equipment.
Darcy: Do you guys dispute that? Do you disagree with what they found?
Chef: I cannot tell you that.
Inspectors also wrote up rusted racks--some of which were covered with aluminum foil that had all kinds of food debris smashed between its layers.
There was also Advil and Vaseline stored over food and equipment.
Cut apples and oranges still had stickers - meaning they weren't properly washed before cutting.
And raw chicken and fish were stored over ready-to-eat food.
The imminent health hazard closure came at Rice Cake House in Commercial Center on East Karen.
Inspectors found multiple toxic chemical bottles unlabeled, equipment not being cleaned with soap and not sanitized, and a chair with a broken leg that hopefully no one sat in.
Rice Cake House re-opened with a 3-demerit A.
Sushi 21 still has a C grade.
This will be our last Dirty Dining report of 2015.
Please have a happy, healthy holiday season and know that Dirty Dining will be back the first week of the new year.