Local News


Dirty Dining tie: Ramen-Ya and Pupuseria El Zunzal

Posted at 10:49 PM, Jul 26, 2017

"The strangest things happen in Dirty Dining!" said Darcy Spears, as a customer asked the person in charge at Ramen-Ya to snap a picture as she gets ready to answer questions about the restaurant's 33-demerit C grade.

Ramen-Ya is the second eatery in the Grand Bazaar Shops at Bally's on the strip to be on Dirty Dining. 

Inspectors wrote up improper handwashing, vegetables in the temperature danger zone, and, we notice something is different from the Health District's pictures.

Darcy: So, that cork board up there had three health permits before--an A grade, a B grade and a C grade. And now there's only an A grade up there. The other two grade cards are not posted.

There were also utensils in standing water. And bugs.

Darcy Spears: There was a concern with ants, right?
Junko Ota: Yes.

Inspectors found ants on lids of bulk dry containers but didn't see any getting into food. 

There was also an excessively soiled scoop used for bulk dry flour. A food handler told inspectors they "cleaned the utensil sometime" the previous week.

Darcy: Why would there have been a flour scoop that hadn't been cleaned in a week still in use?

The person in charge shrugs.

Darcy: It's a mystery to you, too, huh?
Junko: Yes.

Perhaps most concerning is a note in the report saying Ramen-Ya has a repeated history of failing unannounced inspections and an inability to control food safety risks over the long term. 

Junko blames that on employees.

"So, the workers, they don't follow the directions. So we keep teaching them how to keep clean or how to put the food away properly or something. So it's changing and also now the new workers start working so they follow the rules now."

And remember the missing grade cards? When we ask about them, Junko pulls them out from behind an ad on the counter.

Darcy: So that's kind of hidden behind the ice cream and there. You guys know you can't hide those, right?
Junko: Yeah, no, no...

The other 33-demerit C grade was at Pupuseria El Zunzal on Decatur and Lake Mead. 

A food handler grabbed ready to eat pupusas with her bare hands and inspectors say the person in charge was not knowledgeable about basic food safety or personal hygiene. 

Kitchen staff put us on the phone with the owner, who says her name is Blanca.

Darcy on phone: You don't think that you deserve 33 demerits?

Blanca says the health inspectors are too strict and she's going ask to talk to a supervisor to get help understanding why there were problems and demerits.

Their problems included multiple foods at unsafe temperatures: four trays of tamales, a large crate of eggs, a chicken dish and two large pans of refried beans all had to be thrown out. 

And there was black mold inside their ice machine.

Darcy on phone: How did it get like that? How come there was so much mold in there? Every three months is the cleaning service? Is that enough?

Judging by the photos, the answer would be no. 

Inspectors also found ants crawling on a wall in the food prep area and a food handler working with a counterfeit health card

Blanca says there was only one ant and the counterfeit card looked authentic to her.

Lastly, an imminent health hazard closure at Pho Kitchen on Spring Mountain and Rainbow. 

Inspectors shut it down due to live, multi-generational German cockroaches in food prep areas. 

There were dead ones, too, and it wasn't Pho Kitchen's first infestation. 

The health report documents roaches on multiple days back in May. 

There were also heavily soiled wiping cloths, grease build-up under the cook line, and dirty floors.

According to the Health District, Pho Kitchen is still closed and Pupuseria El Zunzal still has a C. Ramen-Ya is back to all A grades.

Want to see how Dirty Dining is made every week? Check out our behind-the-scenes video below: