Bugle Miami

Moe’s, Red Lobster, flies in tequila: 24 South Florida restaurants failed inspection

Technological problems prevented the Sick and Shut Down List from posting last week, but we’re here this week after slogging through the roaches in Cheetos, people wiping their nose and food turning into a bacteria hotbed.

HOW THE LIST WAS DONE: What follows comes from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation restaurant inspections in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach and Monroe counties. A restaurant that fails state inspection remains closed until passing re-inspection.

If you see a problem and want a place inspected, contact the DBPR. Do not call us. Do not email us. We don’t control who gets inspected nor how strictly the inspector inspects. Let us say that again — we do not control who gets inspected.

We don’t include all violations, just the most moving, whether internally or literally moving (because it’s alive or once was alive). Some violations get corrected after the inspector points them out. But, you have to ask, why do the violations exist in the first place? And how long would they have remained if not for the inspection?

We report without passion or prejudice but with side dishes of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Al Basha Grill, 1533 Washington Ave., Miami Beach: 10 total violations, two High Priority violations.

The inspector spotted nine live roaches, two of which were hanging out on a dining area wall and three acting as doormen at the kitchen entrance.

“Observed two spoons submerged in salt inside food storage container located on top of microwave at kitchen area.” You don’t want utensils submerged in anything that’ll eventually go on your food.

“Air conditioning vents soiled over front counter area.”

Al Basha passed re-inspection the next day.

Al Fresco Restaurant and Bar, 2345 S. Ocean Blvd., Palm Beach: Nine total violations, four High Priority violations.

Among the 20 flies the inspector counted were “11 flying insects landing on several lamps at the front counter” in the dining room bar area.

Cookline utensils stood in 82-degree water. That’s barely warmer than room temperature.

A bucket of tomato sauce was stored on a walk-in cooler floor.

Passed next day re-inspection on Sept. 8.

Asian Corner Thai Sushi, 1100 NE Second Ave., Fort Lauderdale: Seven total violations, four High Priority violations.

At least gas station sushi wouldn’t come with rodent feces.

Five pieces of it on chairs stacked in a dry storage area attached to kitchen. Another two at the “front counter sushi area under shelving with canned drinks.” Another two on a shelf with canned goods and small appliances. And 17 — that’s right, 17 — on the floor under stacked chairs and stored pans.

Maybe the rodents came to scavenge because the floor was described as “soiled/has accumulation of debris and rice under shelving in dry storage area.”

Three cans of evaporated milk got hit with a triple Stop Sale for being dented.

This corner of the sushi world passed re-inspection on Sept. 9.

Beaches Bar & Grill Sunrise Cafe, 4299 Collins Ave., Miami Beach: 19 total violations, two High Priority violations.

When you’ve got over 30 roaches “crawling on the kitchen wall, warewashing area and crawling on the floor in the same areas” and over 26 dead roaches under bar equipment.

Shell eggs measured 61 degrees. The owner threw them out before they hatched.

Floors of the walk-in cooler, walk-in freezer and beach bar were “soiled.”

Beaches passed re-inspection the next day, Sept. 10.

Big Louie’s Pizzeria Italian Restaurant, 1990 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale: 10 total violations, five High Priority violations.

Five pieces of rodent regularity and 10 dead roaches were found in an area with bread and pizza boxes.

Stop Sales pounded three pans of lasagna cooked the previous day, in the walk-in overnight and still not cooled to a safe temperature. Also, getting hit with Stop Sale lightning were dented cans of artichoke hearts, baby clams, corn and red peppers.

Big Louie’s passed re-inspection the next day.

Burbowl, 117 SE Third Ave., Miami: 20 total violations, five High Priority violations.

“Observed employee in the dry storage area wiping nose with forehand, pick up a knife, cut a bag of rice and poured the rice into a container.”

If you’re not bothering to hide tending to your boogers around food when the inspector if there, what the heck is going on when the inspector isn’t?

Maybe we should ask the roaches. The inspector saw over 18 live ones, including over six “crawling on the floor underneath a wheeled rack with bread.” The floor was the final resting place for over 20 roaches.

Don’t be afraid to clean up a bit when you’re having people in your place to eat. “Old food debris” soiled a reach-in cooler. Floors were soiled throughout the kitchen and the drain by the walk-in cooler was “soiled with food debris and paper.”

Passed re-inspection on Sept. 10.

Costa Azul, 1209 S. Military Tr., West Palm Beach: 10 total violations, three High Priority violations.

This place came light on the roaches (three live, seven dead) and heavy on the flies. Only three on a container of red peppers, five on rice containers, but 10 shooting around the dry storage area and “more than 30 on white onions.”

One of the handwash sinks lacked soap. So, it’s kind of an indoor garden hose.

Costa passed re-inspection two days later.

The Food Palace Restaurant and Services, 4622 Jog Rd., Greenacres: 11 total violations, four High Priority violations.

Of the nine live roaches, three were on a bag of rice and five were on liquid fry oil. Seven of the nine dead roaches lay in dry storage.

With roaches so aggressive, why would you leave beans uncovered in dry storage?

The Palace passed a re-inspection the following day.

Indian Harvest, 500 Via De Palmas, Boca Raton: Three violations, one High Priority violation.

What brought Indian Harvest back to the Sick and Shut Down List so soon after its June appearance?

Aside from that old Sick and Shut Down List favorite, “Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine/bin” in the bar, there were nine live roaches. Two of them were “on a rolling bin filled with rice in the back hallway dry storage section.” One was on a bag of unpeeled potatoes.

Indian Harvest was back after passing re-inspection the next day.

Jennie Kitchen, 15327 NW Seventh Ave., North Miami-Dade: 10 total violations, four High Priority violations.

Time for our occasional game of “Which is Worse?”

▪ One dead lizard under a table in the dining area.

▪ Six live roaches in an open box of napkins for customer use.

▪ One rodent dropping “inside a container with clean utensils sitting on a preparation table.”

▪ “One dead roach inside a container of Cheetos on the front counter.”

Speaking of dead roaches, more than 37 decorated the restaurant, including more than five in the women’s restroom, more than six in the men’s restroom and more than seven under a front counter shelf.

The wall by the water header in the kitchen had 20 pieces of roach excrement.

After failing re-inspection the next day, Jennie passed re-re-inspection on Sept. 10.

Kona Bay Cafe, 310 E. Ocean Ave., Lantana: Eight total violations, six High Priority violations.

A dishwasher “handled soiled dishes and utensils and then handled clean dishes without washing hands.” Because there wasn’t any handwashing sink available.

The cook “began working with food, handling clean equipment or utensils, or touching unwrapped single-service items without first washing hands.” Why? Because there was no handwashing sink available.

There wasn’t any handwashing sink available because there was “no running cold or hot water in the dish/cook and prep area,” Only one handwashing sink was operational besides the restrooms.

The owner converted a prep sink into a handwashing sink.

Kona passed re-inspection the next day.

Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine, 15941 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines: 15 total violations, seven High Priority violations.

Apparently, 27 flies decided that what happens in Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine, stays in Las Vegas Cuban Cuisine and had a convention there.

Three landed on a bottle of caramel syrup. One lighted on a clean, hanging pot. Three landed on clean plates and a rolling cart.

And under the violation of “Accumulation of dead or trapped birds, insects, rodents, or other pests, in control devices,” the inspector noted, “Observed fly tape throughout kitchen area, in need of replacement.”

“Fly sticky tape hanging over food/food preparation area/food-contact equipment” and “Insect control device used to electrocute or stun insects not designed to retain insect within the device.” So, in the back of the kitchen, the inspector saw an “accumulation of dead flies stuck to wall above and around bug zapper.”

A Miami Mod Squad of food — a media noche sandwich, chicken noodle soup, cooked lamb — got hit with Stop Sales for “temperature abuse.” That means it was made several hours ago and not cooled to under 41 degrees to keep the bad stuff from growing on it.

Oh, the dishwasher sanitizer level? That’s what it was: 0.

No soap at the bar handwashing sink. No hot water at the women’s employee restroom handwashing sink.

They could sing “Viva, Las Vegas” after the next day’s re-inspection.

Le Cordon Du Cap Corp, 4521 W. Hallandale Beach Blvd., Central Broward: Eight total violations, one High Priority violation.

There were about eight live roaches on top of an old metal grate on the side of the Victory cooler in the kitchen and two live roaches under it.

“Ripped/worn tinfoil used as a shelf cover under the prep table in the kitchen.”

Le Cordon was no longer blue after Sept. 10 re-inspection.

Marcos Deli, 707 N. Boardwalk, Hollywood: 13 total violations, four High Priority violations.

As the inspector noted the 26 live roaches and their locations, it was also noted that the “Operator killed and sanitized the area” or, in the case of 10 roaches in a bag of salt, tossed the bag.

Nice effort, but you know if the inspector has to watch you kill something, you’ve failed the inspection.

The rear kitchen handwashing sink didn’t have hot water. Broken handle.

“Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine/bin…on interior lip of small and large ice machine at the front counter.”

The reach-in cooler measured 41 degrees. That’s not exactly Frozone level for getting cooked food down to 41 degrees. So, cooked yuca, cooked pork, ropa vieja, cooked tamales, cooked rice and beans and cooked yellow rice all got smashed with Stop Sales.

Failed at least one re-inspection, possibly two before passing re-re-re-inspection on Monday.

Moe’s Southwest Grill, 2400 W. Commercial Blvd., Tamarac: Seven total violations, three High Priority violations.

You ever make a big order of Moe’s to serve a room when you don’t want to cook and it comes in those aluminum pans?

The inspector saw “four rodent droppings on aluminum food containers on a storage rack in the prep area, four droppings on handwash soaps stored on rack in prep area and approximately 20 droppings under the front counter close to the steam table.”

And, funny how the rodents also seem to come with… “Food stored on floor. Observed cases of tomatoes and containers with sauces on floor by prep station.”

Those Moe’s passed re-inspection three days later.

The Original Brooklyn Water Bagel Company, 201 N. U.S. 1, Jupiter: Six total violations, four High Priority violations.

You always hear from New Yorkers how its the water that makes New York bagels better. Do the “three live flies inside the muffin display case” add texture?

Another three to five flies stayed by the soda/bib dispenser machine and two to three flies were by the prep area/kitchen.

Stop Sales also hit 51-degree chicken salad and 52-degree cream cheese stored in a frontline cooler for over a day.

“No paper towels or mechanical hand drying device provided at handwash sink.” Guess they expect folks to flap dry.

This joint passed a next day re-inspection.

Pizza Al Fresco, 14 Via Mizner, Palm Beach: 14 total violations, six High Priority violations.

The rodents got regular under storage shelves at the back of the kitchen, leaving 20 markings.

“Several buckets of salsa stored on the floor in the walk-in cooler” where we’re sure the rodents never went, no, siree, Bob.

On one wall of the dining room bar area, 10 flies landed. At the front counter, four flies landed.

Is that more disconcerting than “two fly sticky tapes with approximately 60 dead flying insects hanging over food/food preparation area in the cookline?”

The dishwasher water couldn’t get hot enough to sanitize.

Al Fresco was passed re-inspection the next day.

Red Lobster, 700 N. Congress Ave., Boynton Beach: Six total violations, three High Priority violations.

More than 20 live roaches inside an unused cookline salad cooler

More than 30 flies under a sink in the dishwashing area.

The garlic butter wasn’t being kept cool enough.

Red Lobster passed re-inspection the next day.

Rey’s Pizza, 1050 E. Eighth Ave., Hialeah: Five total violations, two High Priority violations.

After you went to the restroom and washed your hands, there was no way to dry your hands. Then again, you’d probably skedaddle after flushing the toilet without washing your hands because “clogged toilet in the men’s and ladies’ bathroom. Sewage from the toilet is draining on the floor. They are not providing customers with access to the restrooms.”

Yeah, that gets you closed.

Passed re-inspection two days later, presumably after the Roto-Rooter man’s visit.

Rocco’s Tacos & Tequila Bar, 5250 Town Center Cir., Boca Raton: Seven total violations, two High Priority violations.

On the DBPR site, “Tequila” is spelled “Tequilla.” We doubt the spelling mattered to the three dead flies in the bottle of Paqui Tequila. Which was tossed…but, keep in mind, was still there to be tossed with the three flies that drank themselves to death.

Think about what a swarm just six or seven flies seems like. Now, envision…

“Approximately 15 live flies on shelving in server station next to the bar.”

“Approximately 10 live flies on the wall at the bar.”

“Approximately 10 live flies on walls in the bathroom area.”

“Approximately 10 live flies on wall at entrance to the kitchen.”

“Approximately 40 live flies on door frame at the exit from the kitchen to the rear shared hallway to the outside.” (Boy, this would’ve really messed up that Copa entrance scene in “GoodFellas,” huh?”)

“Approximately 15 live flies on shelving for chafing dish holders and clean linens.”

“Approximately 10 live flies in the bag of unpeeled onions on dry storage rack.” That looks like a Stop Sale.

“Approximately 10 live flies on boxes of gloves on top of alto-sham hot box.”

“Approximately 15 live flies on the wall next to pot-and-pan storage rack.”

“Two live flies on roll of paper towels over the handwashing sink next to three-compartment sink.”

“Approximately five live flies on clean pots and utensils over the triple sink.”

“Approximately 50 live flies at the exit from kitchen on cork board, shelf and booster seats.”

“Five live flies on unpackaged togo containers.”

Using the abacus, we come up with 197 flies. Clearly, this wins our Amityville Restaurant of the Week Award.

In addition to that, they had all kinds of handwashing sink problems.

No hot water, paper towels or mechanical hand drying device at the front server station’s handwashing sink. The prep area handwashing sink was blocked by a “short rack with large lexans and ice buckets.”

And, we close with “Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine/bin.”

Passed next day re-inspection.

Sushi Masa, 1648 S. Federal Hwy., Delray Beach: 10 total violations, five High Priority violations.

On the DBPR site, this is “Suhi Masa.”

The handwashing sink at the sushi line of a sushi place put out no water.

Chicken cooked the previous day hadn’t cooled properly. Stop Sale.

Of the 38 flies, 30 were on the sushi line, but the inspector took care to note, “Did not observe live small flying insects landing on food items or food equipment.”

On the DBPR site, this is “Suhi Masa.”

Passed re-inspection the next day.

Tacocraft Taqueria & Tequila Bar, 5829 SW 73rd St., South Miami: 19 total violations, three High Priority violations.

Some of the 10 flies in the new added bar area “landed on the plate with sugar and chili powder. Also, approximately five flies in the drink station area, where servers were picking up food from the kitchen.”

A bug zapper hung above a chest freezer and tray shelf.

Standing water in the dishwasing area and an unsealed concrete floor in the kitchen and by the drink station mean trouble in the future.

Tacocraft passed re-inspection the next day.

Tacos La Placita, 6418 Lake Worth Rd., Lake Worth: 20 total violations, eight High Priority violations.

This food truck brought the yuck.

The not-cool-enough beef got hit with the Stop Sale, especially after someone “stated that boss cuts meat at (the) house.”

Flies in the food truck landed on limes, radishes, salsa, the prep table and in the beef.

Too-old rice wasn’t date marked. Stop Sale.

More Stop Sales came down after the staff told the inspector they didn’t have sanitizer and they only washed their utensils.

“Handwash sink not accessible for employee use at all times. Due to water spraying at you if you turn on the water pump.”

“No hot running water at three-compartment sink. Due to pipes leaking and spaying water.”

After a Sept. 9 “Follow-up inspection required,” there’s no online record of a passed inspection. Maybe this place went underground, on the restaurant down low.

Vivo Pizza + Pasta, 5240 Town Center Cir., Boca Raton: Six total violations, one High Priority violation.

The inspector counted 53 flies, including five on open wine bottles and three on folded pizza boxes at the pizza station.

In the freezer, frozen pizza dough and raw chicken were stored on the floor. The walk-in cooler had a bucket of tomato sauce on the floor.

No way to dry your hands at one of the handwashing sinks.

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