Restaurant kitchens remain open. Here are the places that failed inspection

A few things before we get down with this week’s Sick and Shut Down List of South Florida restaurants that failed inspection.

Even with restaurant dining rooms closed to encourage social distancing to slow the COVID-19 spread, inspections matter. The kitchen where your food comes from isn’t necessarily closed. Robots aren’t making the food. People are and restaurants now have even less consumer oversight.

And, frankly, if you don’t have your act together now, after what’s been seen in the world and the United States over the last week-plus, well...

Now, should inspectors still be going from restaurant to restaurant, a few per day, talking with managers and workers when governments are doing all they can to force social distancing short of lockdown? Is that worth the risk?

The name “Sick and Shut Down List” is an homage to churches’ Sick and Shut-In lists of members who can’t get out. Usually, they’re elderly folks who could use visitors and maybe some help around the homestead.

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With the novel coronavirus bouncing about and damaging senior citizens the worst, those folks could use your consideration — call to make sure they have what they need.

What follows comes from Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation restaurant inspections. If you have a complaint about a place, don’t email us. Click here and file a complaint. We don’t control who gets inspected or how strictly they get inspected. We report without passion or prejudice, but with a side dish of humor.

In alphabetical order:

Delicias De Tocoa, 2303 NW Seventh St., Miami: “Certified food manager unable to answer basic Food Code questions pertaining to safe operation of establishment.”

To an inspector, that’s like a parent hearing the 17th consecutive “I don’t know” out of a teenager.

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Other things inspectors don’t like to see include “about 10 rodents dropping at dry storage area,” especially when “there is no separation between the cookline and storage area in the back...”

Speaking of droppings, the inspector dropped Stop Sales like hot knowledge all over food that cooled overnight but not enough to be safe to serve. So, the pico de gallo, shredded cabbage, cheese and sausage all got dumped.

A plastic bag is not a food grade container, which is why the inspector dinged Delicias for “nonfood-grade containers used over cooked rice — direct contact with food” and “raw chicken stored inside on grocery’s plastic bag at reach-in cooler.”

“No container installed for catching grease from hood drip tray,” was one of 24 Basic violations on a 34-violation inspection.

“Walk-in cooler gaskets soiled with slimy/mold-like build-up,” the inspector wrote before saying the walk-in cooler should be benched until it’s actually able to cool something.

Delicias rebounded to pass the March 10 re-inspection.

Inkanto Peruvian Cuisine, 1672 E. Oakland Park Blvd., Oakland Park: We haven’t had a Wayne Gretzky Award Winner for a hat trick of failed inspections in a while, but Inkanto proved to be up to the task.

There were 15 flies landing on clean utensils near the dishwasher. Under the mop sink and the three-compartment sink, 11 pieces of rodent poop.

Of course, with the little ones running around, “several containers with cooking oil stored on kitchen and dry storage floor.”

“Accumulation of black/green mold-like substance in the interior of the ice machine.” And outside the ice machine, “Ice scoop stored on top of dirty ice machine between uses.”

Here’s a High Priority violation we don’t see often: “Evidence of mop/cleaning wastewater dumped onto ground. In parking lot.”

A faulty paper towel dispenser at the kitchen handwash sink sat on the wall. The walls were where the inspector found plenty to violate the senses: “wall throughout kitchen soiled with old food and grease residue...wall soiled with accumulated black debris in dishwashing area...observed standing water on kitchen floor...observed rotten wall with deep holes at dishwashing area...observed Cove molding at floor/wall juncture broken/missing throughout kitchen.”

OK, so Inkanto stunk in the March 10 inspection. Did it learn its lesson for the March 11 inspection?

It did not. A reduction in flies from 15 to six didn’t make up for a still moldy ice machine, the ice scoop still resting on top of a dirty ice machine, the cooking oil still on the floor — those seem kind of easy to fix — and there was still a mold buildup on the wall next to the dishwashing machine (Tilex, people?).

Third-time Thursday, definitely the charm, right? Well, the charm turned the six flies into “six live roaches found on wall and on clean cups at dishwashing area.”

Inkanto couldn’t-o reopen until after Friday’s re-re-re-inspection.

Jo Cafeteria, 3196 NW 54th St., Miami: Which bothers you more? You make the call.

Nine flies, four of them around the espresso machine?

Or “Water backing up through floor drain located in the middle of kitchen prep area behind front counter where sandwiches are prepared and reach-in cooler is located. Water backs up through floor drain when handwash sink is turned on?”

Or the men’s restroom used by employees, which lacked toilet paper, soap or any way to dry hands?

(No hand drying method at the kitchen handwash sink, either. Think they use their shirts, pants or flap their arms?)

Or, the dead rodent on sticky trap near the back of the kitchen?

The three-compartment sink under the front counter was too small. So, a large plastic container was washed at the mop sink? And that’s a problem because it’s a food contact surface and wasn’t sanitized.

“Slicer blade guard soiled with old food debris.”

Frozen beef thawing at room temperature.

Jo was a go after staying closed Friday, then passing Saturday’s re-inspection.

Kickin’ Crawfish, 4341 N. State Rd. 7, Lauderdale Lakes: “Glasses stored inside hand wash sink at bar. Water pitcher stored inside hand wash sink in kitchen.”

“No paper towels or mechanical hand drying device provided at handwash sink at bar.”

But both those violations were just piling on because “Observed no water at entire operation. Bathrooms out of order due to lack of water.”

Well, that and both toilets in the women’s restroom were clogged. How that’s not a High Priority violation, I don’t know.

The Crawfish was swimming properly after the March 11 re-inspection.

Little Italy Italian Restaurant, 3116 S. Military Trail, Lake Worth: In the kitchen hand washing sink sat a knife and a towel. The knife alone is, technically, a violation. But the towel being there says this handwash sink isn’t exactly a high traffic area.

Same with “accumulation of food debris/soil residue on paper towel and/or soap dispenser.”

On this Rodents vs. Roaches battleground, the four-legged vermin overwhelmed the insects with 17 rodent droppings to a lone live roach on the kitchen floor.

Open milk was sour and got tossed. Pasta in a reach-in cooler wasn’t covered. There’s been a run on toilet paper, not Tupperware, folks.

“Food debris/dust/grease/soil residue on...” outside of the microwave; inside and outside of the oven; on the dry storage shelves. Unless there’s a lot of broken arms around there, grab a rag people and do a wipe once in a while.

You combine “floor area(s) covered with standing water at the cookline, underneath the three-compartment sink” with “floors not maintained smooth and durable throughout kitchen” and you might get some new life forms that resemble the Boogens forming under that floor.

Little Italy got off lockdown after the March 10 re-inspection.

Mojitobar, 2602 Sawgrass Mills Cir., Sunrise: These people had water problems — no hot water at the three-compartment sink. Not-hot-enough water at a handwash sink, where anybody using it got left with lukewarm drippy hands because there was no way to dry them.

And that was if an employee could get to the handwash sink, which was “obstructed by equipment in the dishwashing area.”

The cilantro crema and the homemade ranch dressing should’ve been sold within seven days after they were made. They were made 16 and 15 days, respectively, before this inspection. Basura.

Sometimes, it’s where you hit, not how often. The inspector counted 35 flies. Two of them were landing on the liquor spouts at the outside bar, four were landing on the liquor spouts on the inside bar, two were landing in ice buckets.

Peeled plantains weren’t covered in the walk-in.

Passing a same-day March 11 inspection got Mojitobar back open.

Pho Atlantic, 5408 W. Atlantic Blvd. Margate: No Gretzky Award winners in a month-plus, then two in one week!

Pho had Interior of reach-in cooler soiled with accumulation of food residue. Inside of coolers and gaskets. Shelves soiled under prep tables Debris outside of food containers.

Floor soiled/has accumulation of debris.

And a dishwasher not sanitizing properly.

But what put Pho in the ranks of the failed, mostly, were the 36 roaches scattered about. One was on a cookline plate. Three were leaving the oven (sounds like that group that knows when it’s time to leave the club because stuff’s about to get too hot). Three were inside the freezer. One on a container of cold water near the stove.

That was Wednesday. Thursday, the inspector came back and saw 25 live roaches (two coming from the oven, this time. They were probably the ones starting stuff the day before...) and 15 dead roaches (10 on the floor going to the kitchen).

Now, we’re on to Friday for Pho. The inspector counted 11 live, 22 dead. One of the live ones was on the stove. Despite the improved living/dead ratio, this completed the hat trick.

Fo’ for fo’ for Pho? Nah, it passed Tuesday’s re-re-re-inspection.

Smokey Bones Bar & Fire Grill, 10260 Forest Hill Blvd., Wellington: “Around 10 ants-crawling on sodas boxes and around 15 ants crawling on the sodas lines located in the storage area in the kitchen.”

There were only four live roaches, but one was “crawling on prep table at front counter at the server station.”

Now, of the 24 dead roaches, two lie in the hand washing sink, bringing the question, how little is that sink used that two dead roaches don’t get washed down the drain?

The paper towel dispenser didn’t work at the kitchen hand washing sink.

The inspector made it rain Stop Sales on tomatoes for a mold-like substance) and, for “temperature abuse,” feta cheese; cheesecake; raw whole chicken; raw marinated chicken breast; Angus patties; sour cream; butter; smoked chicken wings; corn and beans-stop; and cooked ribs.

Smokey’s recovered to pass the March 10 re-inspection.

Yum Yum 2000 Cafe Del Mar, 710 Washington Ave., Miami Beach: “Employee was handling food then went to wash dishes and touching paper then went back to prepping food without washing hands and changing gloves.”

Then again, if he went to one handwash sink, he’d find carrots stored it. But, possibly at the same handwash sink (the inspection wasn’t clear), he would not find soap or a way to dry his hands (blow on them?).

About 10 live roaches scurried about the kitchen floor and walls and three dead in dry storage. That’s also where the inspector found a cleaned wiping towel.

“Employee washing dishes without using sanitizer.”

In the kitchen, “Ceiling vents soiled with accumulated food debris, grease, dust, or mold-like substance.”

The floor near the three-compartment sink was covered with standing water.

Yum Yum stopped being yuck, yuck long enough to pass Thursday’s re-inspection.

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