Three new restaurants will open soon in East Boca. Mizner Park will host two of them. Ouzo Bay will open in the space formerly occupied by the Jazziz nightclub. Ouzo Bay has one other location, in Baltmore, and is part of the Atlas Restaurant Group which also has the Azumi (Japanese) and Loch Bar (seafood) restaurants in Baltimore. This appears to be their first venture outside of Maryland.
Replacing Ruby Tuesday in Mizner Park will be Junior’s Restaurant, a New York City based restaurant that is best known for its cheesecake. We’ve had their cheesecake, love it, and gained 10 pounds just by hearing the news.
Last and probably not least, Louie Bossi will open in the new Hyatt Place hotel. The building is under construction now at 120 East Palmetto Park Road (near Federal Highway). This is a second location for Louie Bossi. The original is on Las Olas in Fort Lauderdale.
One of the perks of running West Boca News is we get invited (free) to shows and media dinners. Earlier this week we took advantage of this and enjoyed an early look at the updated Renzo’s of Boca on Federal Highway north of Yamato.
Renzo’s was recently bought by Chef Angelo Romano, the owner of Paradiso Ristorante in Lake Worth. Romano is working with Marco Turano to run the place. Both were pleasant and demonstrated a clear business sense which will hopefully mean Renzo’s will be around for a long time.
The event started with some specialty cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, including an eggnog drink, a meat and cheese platter, and ceviche/crudo. All were good, though the drink may have been a bit strong for some.
When we sat down we were served wine (choice of red or white, or both). The meal started with a plate of four appetizers including calamari Salad, burrata (fresh mozzarella) with pickled eggplant, beet & apple salad, and tuna carpaccio.
The next course included fiocchetti with pear, gorgonzola and walnuts (left); gnocchi in vodka sauce (right), and risotto frutti di mare.
Then came the fish course with pistachio encrusted branzino and shrimp zingara.
For the meat course we were served a veal meatball over sheep ricotta.
Last but not least was a ricotta cheesecake. I’m a huge fan of traditional New York style cheesecake and normally don’t like too many variations including the ricotta versions. But this one was wonderful.
We liked every course. My guest’s favorites included the veal meatball, the branzino, the beet and apple salad, and she loved the cheesecake. I liked all of those and also thought the burrata and tuna were outstanding.
Entrees start at over $25 and run up to the low 40s. $9 seems like a lot for a bowl of soup or a Caesar salad. Some of the other appetizers are double that. Overall the menu seemed pricey though not absurd considering the quality.
Since we originally posted this article we received a response from Terra Fiamma:
At this writing we cannot confirm their claim of a perfect inspection on August 4th. It does not show up on the inspection page:
It appears any inspection on August 4th would be a follow-up inspection. The bad inspection we reported on was from June 1st, and there was a follow-up on June 6th that still required a further follow-up. We do not consider follow-up inspections to be as significant as routine inspections or complaint inspections because the restaurant has more warning and has had a wake-up call. A good restaurant should notice these problems before the inspector does.
With all that said, we like Terra Fiamma. We have eaten there in the past and will do so again.
Nearly a dozen restaurants received 20 or more violations in our latest restaurant inspection report. The worst of the pack in total number were Terra Fiamma in Delray Marketplace and Sergio’s Americas Bakery in Northwest Sandalfoot Plaza. Each had 29 violations.
On the bright side for Sergio’s, there was only one violation marked as high priority. By contrast Terra Fiamma had 8 high priority violations on their June 1st inspection including dozens of live flies:
- Chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength for manual warewashing. Do not use equipment/utensils not properly sanitized. 0 ppm chlorine at 3 compartment sink. Corrected to 100 ppm chlorine. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
- Employee ate then engaged in food preparation, handled clean equipment without washing hands. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
- Employee dried hands on soiled towel after washing. Re washed hands. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
- Live, small flying insects in kitchen, food preparation area, or food storage area. Approximately 50 live flies inside restaurant in cookline area/prep area/ server stations/ bar / dining room/ dry storage area. Approximately 100 live flies just outside back door . **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
- Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Fresh garlic and oil at 70° F in servers station area near pizza prep area. Time marked. Repeat Violation. Over stacked veil at cookline cooler at 62° F. Over stack removed and placed inside cooler. Milk and creamer at 67° F in servers station. Added ice to food level. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
- Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food. Raw chicken over veggies at cookline cooler. Raw veil over dough at walkin cooler. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
- Toxic substance/chemical stored by or with food. Butane in food storage shelving. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
- Wiping cloth sanitizer solution exceeds the maximum concentration allowed. Over 200 ppm chlorine. Corrected to 100 ppm chlorine. **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
We’re changing the way we do inspection reports. We separate our reports into areas – West Boca, East Boca and “Near Boca.” Now we’re combining them into one report hopefully each week.
Others in the dirty near dozen, with 20 or more violations, include:
Long Island Bagel (441 near Target)
Bamboo Wok (Glades Road west of Lyons)
Lucky Palace (441 near Target)
El Balcon De Las Americas (441 at Sandalfoot)
Mozart Cafe (west side of Powerline at Camino Real)
Canton Garden (Spanish River Blvd)
La Bamba (Delray)
The Palm Grill (Delray)
Mama’s Pizza (Deerfield)
There were also some perfect and almost perfect inspections:
Domino’s Pizza (441 Mission Bay)
Yogurt Zone (Somerset Shoppes)
Jet’s Pizza (Somerset Shoppes)
Burger King (441 near Target)
Hooters (Glades east of Town Center)
Chef Tai’s (NW 2nd)
McDonald’s (Federal Highway)
La Rosa Nautica (NE 20th)
Five Guys (NW 19th)
Bagel Wit Schmear (Federal Highway)
One other notable lowlight was Sushi Masa on Glades Road in East Boca, which had four inspections in a 9-day period in late July because of continuing problems with food temperatures. Another follow-up inspection is expected.
Our spreadsheets for this report are below:
Romano’s Macaroni Grill was hit with 48 violations in an early July inspection and the restaurant was temporarily closed. Seven of the violations were “high priority” and included insects and rodents:
- Employee failed to wash hands before changing gloves and/or putting on gloves to work with food. **Corrected On-Site**
- Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cooked/heated yesterday/on a previous day not cooled from 135 degrees Fahrenheit to 41 degrees Fahrenheit within a total of 6 hours. Food has been cooling overnight. Cooked potatoes cooling overnight between 47° F and 50° F at walkin cooler. See stop sale. Food discarded. **Corrected On-Site**
- Presence of insects, rodents, or other pests. Ants in rear prep area by slicer and flour bin and in frontline area by dessert storage cooler.
- Raw animal food stored in top portion of make table over ready-to-eat food in bottom portion of make table _ no complete physical barrier between top and bottom. Raw scallops over sauces at make table top where drippings from scallops may contaminate sauces. **Corrected On-Site**
- Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found. Observed approximately 15 fresh and 5 dry rodent droppings in rear prep/ dishwashing area and 3 fresh and 2 dry rodent droppings on table tops in dining room area.
- Small flying insects in dishwashing area.
- Stop Sale issued on potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food due to temperature abuse. Cooked potatoes cooling overnight between 47° F and 50° F at walkin cooler. Food discarded. **Corrected On-Site**
On the bright side they had a near-perfect inspection the next day and reopened. They also had an additional inspection two weeks later which was also good with only five minor violations.
The next worst in this report is Chinese restaurant Sieng House, which is south of Camino Real just west of Dixie Highway. They had 19 total violations (4 high priority) and there were three more inspections within ten days. It looks like there was a persistent problem with food temperatures but their final inspection was perfect.
High numbers were also reported for four restaurants in and near Royal Palm Plaza. Ichiyami Buffet, Gluttonous Goat, Yakitori Sake House and Biergarten each had 16 violations from late May through early June.
The best inspections in this report go to Seasons 52 (near Town Center) and The Wick Theatre which were both perfect. The Wick’s dining service is now headed by our favorite local chef, William Walden, formerly of Bistro Gastronomie.
Villagio in Mizner Park shows up in our spreadsheet (below) but we already covered that inspection as an update to our May inspection report for East Boca.
High Priority – Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found. Observed approximately 10 inside a broken oven that is not in use on the cook’s line.
Stop Sale issued on potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food due to temperature abuse. Piece of raw beef left at room temperature all night.
Stir Crazy at Town Center has had a string of rough inspections over the last several months. The worst of it, recently, was on April 27th when they were closed by inspectors for the day due to both roaches and rodents.
Roach activity present as evidenced by live roaches found. Observed approximately 10 live roaches by the walkin cooler, 3 live roaches by dry storage shelving, 10 live roaches by the dish machine, 16 live roaches by the cookline area, 1 live roach at the employee restroom and 2 live roaches by the mop sink.
Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found. Observed approximately 15 dry rodent droppings in upstairs storage room.
The restaurant appears to struggling with inspections. We count six inspections since February with four requiring follow-ups. Four of those inspections happened in the last three weeks. Their first inspection in February found dead roaches and as we reported in August, they had problems with rodents on an inspection in July.
Usually when we see a place have a bad inspection they respond with near-perfect inspections for at least a little while. Stir Crazy seems to be having trouble getting things right. The April 27th inspection found 17 violations and only couple weeks later they had 16 violations.
While that was probably the worst inspection in this report, it is not the worst number. Yakitori Sake House in Royal Palm Plaza “wins” that prize with a total of 40 violations including 8 marked “high priority,” some of which are a bit unnerving:
Dishmachine chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength. Discontinue use of dishmachine for sanitizing and set up manual sanitization until dishmachine is repaired and sanitizing properly. 0 ppm chlorine, corrected to 100 ppm chlorine. **Corrected On-Site**
Employee handled soiled dishes or utensils and then handled clean dishes or utensils without washing hands. **Corrected On-Site**
Employee handled soiled equipment or utensils and then engaged in food preparation, handled clean equipment or utensils, or touched unwrapped single-service items without washing hands. Dishwasher from handling dirty equipment to handling clean plates without washing hands first.
Employee washed hands with no soap. **Corrected On-Site**
Food stored in ice used for drinks. Water bottle and apple at bar.
Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) hot held at less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Sushi rice at 109° F in sushi bar area under no temperature control. Rice time marked. Assisted operator in completing application for time as a public health control. **Corrective Action Taken**
Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food. Raw shrimp over prepped veggies at walkin cooler. Raw fish over cream cheese and krab at sushi bar cooler. **Corrected On-Site**
Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in reach-in freezer – all products not commercially packaged. Raw chicken next to and touching raw beef at Whirlpol cooler. Raw chicken over raw shrimp at Whirlpol cooler.**Corrected On-Site**
Yakitori Sake House did follow up with a near-perfect inspection a week later.
Second worst in total number was Chick N Chop on Federal Highway with 31 violations including the most interesting one we’ve ever seen:
Food with mold-like growth. See stop sale. Observed a gray mold growing on an epiphany in a case of eggplant in the rear prep area. **Warning**
We’re not sure how an epiphany would get into a case of eggplant, what it would look like, or how mold would grow on it. But we don’t think we’d want to eat that.
Another bad one goes to Nino’s of Boca II on NE 5th Ave (east of Federal Highway north of Glades). They had 13 violations and some kind of emergency order recommended. They’ve had some bad inspections as we mentioned in March, and October. This may have been the final straw because it looks like the restaurant has closed. Their website is gone and their phone number is disconnected. Because they’re closed we can’t find the latest inspection report, though it was covered by BizJournals.com:
ordered to close temporarily for a fourth time this year on March 16 for rodent problems, when inspectors found rodent droppings near cooking equipment in the kitchen
Now for the real winners:
Several places had perfect inspections, including the Cinemark theater, Strikes bowling, PF Chang’s, Estia Greek Taverna, Amitie Cafe, Lion & Eagle Pub, Funky Buddha Lounge, Skyview Cafe, Little Caesars, and several places within the Boca Raton Resort.
Other notables with good numbers include Shake Shack on Glades and Sushi Ray in Town Center Circle with just two violations each. Morton’s of Chicago in Town Center Circle had only three minor violations.
Others with 10 or more violations were:
Renzo’s Cafe Pizzeria, Sushi of Boca Raton, Taverna Kyma (including a stop sale due to temperature problems), Sinful Sandwich, Piezano’s Pizza & Pasta, Sonny’s Gelato CAfe, adn Sakura Thai & Japanese.
Mizner Park & Royal Palm Plaza:
Dubliner, Sapphire Indian, Casimir Bistro, Lemongrass
Dean Anthony’s Express Pizza (Yamato), Cheescake Factory, DaVinci’s of Boca (Town Center), Boca’s Best Pizza Bar, and Bogart’s Bar & Grille
As usual, our full spreadsheet is below.