It was certainly a big week for vermin and feces in New York. Despite it not being in Midtown, many people wrote me this week about The Shake Shack, and how they failed their Health Inspection. Failed is actually an understatement for what they did… They got a 109 (anything over a 28 requires a re-inspection). To give you an idea of how gross that is, Variety Cafe was shut down last month for scoring a 95 (and they’re not even owned by Danny Meyer. You’d expect it in Midtown, but not the Flatiron District!) It just goes to show that long lines don’t ensure that cooks aren’t picking their noses while they make your food. (Ironically enough, despite Danny Meyer’s claim that running a food kiosk in a park is difficult, Tom Collichio’s ‘wichcraft in Bryant Park, scored a perfect 0 on their inspection… go figure.)
Then as if New Yorkers hadn’t suffered enough thinking about that dirty burger they waited an hour for last week in Bryant Park, Starbucks employees led a protest on Wednesday to shed light on the vermin problem plaguing many of the city’s Starbucks locations. Both of these stories sent me back browsing one of my favorite websites: The New York City Deparment of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Restaurant Inspection Section. It’s like Time Out New York’s listing of Restaurants, except they’re rated by grossness.
The truth is I love this site because in most cases it doesn’t bother me. I love to eat, and most of my favorite places are gross. Hell, we live in a gross city, and with that comes gross restaurants. I’m sure if Health Inspector’s came to our apartments, a lot of our kitchens would get 109’s.
So if you’re curious like me, here’s some nice tidbits about some of my favorite places to eat lunch in Midtown. ***SPOILER ALERT*** For those who might have their day ruined by finding out their favorite lunch spot has “plumbing that is not properly installed or maintained, anti-siphonage or backflow prevention device not provided where required and the sewage disposal system is in disrepair” stop reading now. I’m actually scared to know what all of that means… Truthfully, some things you might almost prefer not to know… but if it doesn’t bother you- by all means continue reading after the jump…
Variety Cafe. 48th btw. 5+6th. Closed in July for scoring a 95. Their follow up inspection scored them a near perfect 2. Since then they’ve slipped back up to a 20. I think I’ll stick with my new favorite Cafe Duke. They’ve got a 14 (sure it might have been a 39 in January… but beggars can’t be choosers)
Kati Roll. 46th btw. 6+7th. One of my favorite places in Midtown… and one of the most read postings ever on this blog. Last year they scored a 36 in April, and improved to a 2 by the time they were re-inspected in May. In May of this year, they were back down to a 29. Here’s hoping for that 2 come their next inspection! (Have you had the Chicken Tikka roll? No “evidence of live mice” is keeping me away from this place!)
Rangole. 46th St. btw. 5+6th. While we’re on the topic of Indian, we might as well look at the Indian Buffet I wrote about a few weeks ago. They got their inspection in July and just barely passed with a 23. Of course that was after two straight failing inspections in May and June. I can’t say it bothered me too much… I’m pretty sure I read about their “problems” before I went and wrote about it.
Hing Won. 48th btw. 5+6th. The scored a ripe 48 in February. They’ve since got it down to a 23. I actually know people who have seen the “flying insects” in this place… but it’s cheap Chinese food people. In Midtown. It sort of comes with the territory. Ho Yip, which I wrote about last week got an 18- but a commenter found a piece of metal in his food once… so the truth is, you really can’t win.
Cafe Zaiya. 41st btw. 5th+Mad. They scored a 23 after a 61 in March got them shut down. Once again evidence of mice rears its ugly head. Mice really seem to love asian food… (This place is my new favorite spot by the way… totally unrelated to the mice)
I could keep going… but I’ll spare you. The point is I love these places… and I’m going to keep eating at them, despite their violations… because the truth is, I love dirty food. I shouldn’t say that I love food that is dirty… more that food that I love, seems to always end coming from places that are dirty. It’s the life I’ve chosen. Sure the ESPN Zone got a 2 and was awarded the Golden Apple of Excellence. And the Wendy’s on 6th Ave, Subway and TGI Friday’s in Midtown got perfect zeros. But I wouldn’t be caught dead eating at any of those places. You want to find me? Look at the Shake Shack… especially this weekend- maybe the line won’t be so long!
Next Week, I’ll be reviewing The Burger Joint. Sooooo good… and a hidden gem of Midtown (unless your part of the everyone who already knows about it… then it’s not so hidden- but it’s still a gem). Plus, I’ll check out some other places… who knows what. Stop bugging me… I don’t know what I’m going to be in the mood for. Have a good weekend!