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Thursday, January 19, 2006

Kosher = Cleaner? Ha!

The NYC Department of Health has put up a site that issues each restaurant in the city a point score that shows how many violations it had in its latest inspection. The more violations found, the higher the score. A number over 27 means they fail, and need to pass an unscheduled follow-up inspection to avoid being closed down by the DOH. This article in the NY Times explains a bit about the inspection and re-inspection process - about 4,000 out of the city's estimated 24,000 restaraunts fail yearly - so failing is a somewhat common occurence. With that fact in mind when you read about how some of my favorite - and not-quite-so-favorite - kosher restaraunts fared in their inspections. You might be surprised by the results (in order from least to most violations):
Levana - 0 points
Solo - 3 points
My Most Favorite Dessert - 5 points
Circa - 16 points
Kosher Deluxe - 17 points
Dougie's (Brooklyn) - 17 points
Haikara Grill - 22 points
Dougie's (72nd St.) - 26 points
Va Bene - 31 points
The Prime Grill - 36 points

Interesting that the old stalwart, Levana, has managed to keep their place so immaculate after all these years. And keep in mind that there are certain restaurants that failed their most reason inspection, such as the the Orthos' present restaurant of choice for birthday and anniversary dinners, Prime Grill (incidentally under the same ownership as Solo, which had almost no violations), that passed every other inspection in their history. So don't take one failed inspection as an indication to avoid the restaraunt. Heck, I'm certainly not giving up Tuesday night Delmonicos at PG over something silly like some mice dropping found in food preparation areas.

This list certainly goes a ways toward debunking the myth that kosher food is somehow cleaner. But I probably didn't need to tell that to anyone who's ever eaten at their neighborhood corner shawarma joint.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

what about talyas? they were pretty bad in the last report

9:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i wonder what they say about yosi's grill

9:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Heck, I'm certainly not giving up Tuesday night Delmonicos at PG over something silly like some mice dropping found in food preparation areas."

LOL. Great post.

9:48 PM  
Blogger Sarah said...

When making my somewhat-annual trip to Dougies 72nd street, I will try to bear in mind that old dictum: What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

12:51 AM  
Blogger nikki said...

i remember when i was a little girl, the nytimes used to publish this type of list every week. my mother would read aloud the restaurants (kosher and non) that failed. invariably, some of the best restaurants would wind up on the list... i guess even the roaches like an occasional night on the town!

1:26 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Also, those that sent in information late or not at all got an automatic 20 points (according to today's NYPost), so that may have sent a few skyrocketing.

1:48 AM  
Blogger MUST Gum Addict said...

I think it's quite obvious that whoever doled out the points and did the inspections, was obviously not at PG on a Tuesday night -- those nights, the joint is spotless... ;)

By the way, I think it's interesting to note that at least in your list, the food gets progressively better as more points are added.... Maybe I can use this as an argument to keep me from cleaning the kitchen at home...

12:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By the way, I think it's interesting to note that at least in your list, the food gets progressively better as more points are added....

When I lived in Los Angeles, the city implemented a program where restaurants had to display a letter grade from their health inspection. Most of the kosher restaurants pulled B's, with the C's all among the most upscale places. The only A went to the Abulafia-clone Yummy Pita, which my wife had refused to eat at because it looked too dirty.

2:52 PM  
Blogger BBJ said...

All my (sort of) local kosher shwarma type places are immaculate. The food is slow, the service is weird, and the Moroccan rabbis on the walls look disapproving, but the floors are incredibly clean.

Sometimes they mop them under your feet while you're trying to eat.

The kosher place I want to try right now is Raphael--upscale Italian in Berkeley. It looks yummy. I need an excuse to go out and spend a lot on a dinner.

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

During Pesach, a number of years ago, an O U GLATT KOSHER HOTEL in Miami Beach, Florida was closed down in the middle of the Yom Tov for health violations. They had to bring in refrigerated trucks filled with food, every day, for those people that had nowhere else to go.
Quite an experience.

7:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Isn't there a kashruth issue somewhere in here? I mean, the kosher world keeps getting more and more machmir about bugs in your asparagus tips, bugs in you water, bugs in your spinach, etc. How come bugs in you kitchen don't rate a reproach from the mashgichim? Or mice? Or their droppings?

12:45 PM  
Blogger blueenclave said...

Oy! La Marais got 22 points at the last inspection! I like that place so much!

2:38 AM  
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