Fresh Rodent Droppings and 35 Violations Close Sapphire

Four Asian restaurants in East Boca “top” our list for this report: Sapphire, Kanpai, Nori and Lemongrass.

Sapphire Restaurant in Royal Palm Place; image by Google.

It’s tough when we see a bad inspection for a place we like. Sapphire is our favorite Indian restaurant in Boca – and yes it still is even after this.
On May 18th Sapphire was hit with 35 violations (5 high priority) and a temporary closure. The worst of it was this:

Rodent activity present as evidenced by approximately 50 plus fresh rodent droppings under dry storage shelf. 30+ fresh rodent droppings under shelf next to walk in cooler 15 fresh rodent droppings under shelf contains bag in the box sodas 25+ fresh rodent droppings under fryer and grill at cook line 10+ fresh rodent droppings under prep table at cook line . No door between dry storage and kitchen.

They were able to reopen the next day with a total of 8 violations, none high priority.
Others with over 20 violations include:

  • Kanpai at Palmetto Park and Federal Highway (29 violations, 7 high priority)
  • Nori on East Palmetto Park (28 violations, 10 high priority)
  • Lemongrass, just south of Mizner Park (22, 7)

Good News
On the good news side of things, there were some perfect inspections with zero violations. Most notable were Lucille’s BBQ in Delray Marketplace and Chick N Chop in the Kmart plaza on Palmetto Park Road.

Also perfect: Rocksteady Jamaican on Federal Highway, the Marriott at Boca Center, and a perfect licensing inspection for Paladium Sports Bar on Sample in Margate.
Cafe 5150 and The Mirage at the Marriott were both near perfect with just one violation each. Other notable good inspections were as noted below.

  • Steak N’ Shake on 441 in Coral Springs: 1 minor violation
  • Sicilian Oven off St. Andrews near Town Center: 2 violations
  • Apura on Powerline near Olive Garden: 3 minor violations
  • Shake Shack on Glades near FAU: 3 minor violations
  • Sybarite Pig: 4 violations

Last but maybe not least, there appears to be a new restaurant replacing the short-lived West Boca location of Hot Dog Opolis. “Hummus Culture” had a licensing inspection on May 17th with 3 violations. We’re not sure if they’re open yet. We were in the plaza Friday and didn’t notice it. Regardless we hope to try it soon and wish them luck.
As usual our spreadsheet is below.
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Rodent Droppings in Delray Taquería

Taqueria Huetamo in Delray; image by Google
Taqueria Huetamo in Delray; image by Google

It was a mostly good week for inspections, but Taquería Huetamo (Linton and Congress in Delray) was shut down on Friday after an inspection found rodent droppings:

Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found …….. approximately 15 some fresh , some old rodent droppings underneath SOBE COOLER in food prep area .One fresh dropping on self under the prep table, approximately 5 old rodent droppings underneath shelvings through out storage area and dish washing area. Approximately 10 fresh and 15 old rodent droppings underneath shelf and floor by the discarded equipment in dishwashing area.

Close up of the restaurant's window sign
Close up of the restaurant’s window sign

The inspection, worst of the week, noted a total of 17 violations including 3 other high priority violations:

  • Employee touching ready-to-eat food with their bare hands – food was not being heated as a sole ingredient to 145 degrees F or immediately added to other ingredients to be cooked/heated to the minimum required temperature to allow bare hand contact. Establishment has no approved Alternative Operating Procedure…..putting butter on bread with bare hands . **Corrected On-Site** **Repeat Violation**
  • Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit….sauce 45° in SOBE reach in cooler , food removed to another acceptable cooler. ….cooked beef 44°, yellow rice 43°/44° in coca cola reach in cooler . Operator stated keep opening door make temperature high, closed the door ……shredded cheese , salsa 48°, cut lettuce 44° in flip top cooler across from grill in kitchen ….red sauce, green sauce in front line flip top cooler , food being held less than an hours , ice down on food.Corrective Action Taken** **Corrective Action Taken** **Repeat Violation**
  • Raw animal food stored over cooked food…..raw beef above cooked chicken in flip top reach in cooler across from grill in kitchen.

The restaurant reopened after a follow-up inspection found five minor violations. Taquería Huetamo has had mixed inspections in the past with some good ones but also a not-so-great one in March of 2015, and another one with over 100 rodent droppings in September of 2014.
Keep in mind that overall it was a good week. On the good news side of things, the popular Tomasso’s Pizza & Subs on the north side of Palmetto Park Road just east of I-95 had a perfect inspection.

Tomasso's Pizza & Subs; image by Google
Tomasso’s Pizza & Subs; image by Google

Another perfect inspection went to Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt in the Garden Shops at Boca, on the south side of Palmetto west of Powerline.
Other very good inspections were recorded by Packy’s in Logger’s Run with two violations and Wendy’s in the same plaza with only one minor violation.
In other inspections of note:
Gramercy Bagels on Jog in Delray had 16 violations with 3 high priority.
Morton’s of Chicago at Town Center Circle had 12 violations with 3 high priority.
The new Your Pie in Coral Springs (441 south of Wiles in the Super Target plaza) had 10 violations in their licensing inspection including a stop sale on food that was not kept cold enough. They had a same-day follow-up inspection with only 2 violations.
China Cafe in Loggers Run Plaza had 10 violations.
Asia on the west side of Powerline at Camino Real had 10 violations.
On the west side of 441 near SW 18th (Marina), Sushi Yoshee had 9 violations.
Panera at Town Center Circle (east side of Military Trail) had 5 violations.
Licensing inspections were reported for:
Howard’s Famous Corned Beef & Deli on Federal Highway in East Boca (1 minor violation)
Bonito Company on Hillsboro in Deerfield Beach (1 minor violation)
Our spreadsheet for this week is below:
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It's Magic! 39 Violations for a Chinese Restaurant in East Boca

The restaurant formerly known as Pine Garden
The restaurant formerly known as Pine Garden

A rose by any other name? Our list of East Boca restaurant inspections is topped by a restaurant now named “Magical Rice,” on Federal Highway. Their early March inspection revealed a total of 39 violations including 7 marked high priority.

Bare hand contact with ready-to-eat food while the establishment is under a foodborne illness investigation. Employee cutting vegetables with his bare hands . Gloves worn. **Corrected On-Site**
Employee failed to wash hands before putting on gloves to work with food. **Corrected On-Site**
Nonfood-grade containers used for food storage – direct contact with food. Cooked chicken stored in non food grade bags in walkin freezer.
Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food prepared from/mixed with ingredient(s) at ambient temperature not cooled to 41 degrees Fahrenheit within 4 hours. Initial temperature of Shrimp 45 to 46° F , 2nd temp within 1 hr between 43 to 52° F. Cooling for 2 hrs at flip top cooler in cookline. At current rate of cooling the product will not cool to 41° F within 4 hrs. Added ice to rapid cool. Maintain lid closed on flip top cooler. Corrective action taken.
Raw animal food stored over/with ready-to-eat food in walk-in freezer – not all products commercially packaged. Raw chicken over cooked pork. **Corrected On-Site**
Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in walk-in freezer – all products not commercially packaged. Raw chicken next to and touching raw pork . **Corrected On-Site**
Toxic substance/chemical stored by or with clean or in-use utensils. Degreaser next to clean pots at cookline. **Corrected On-Site**

Per their website they used to be Pine Garden restaurant, which had poor inspection reports in August and May of 2014. It appears the name change did not magically improve things.
In second place, but possibly worse, Nino’s of Boca II on NE 5th had a bad run with 6 inspections over the past month including three temporary closures. At its worst, the February 12th inspection showed 28 violations including this:

Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found, approx. 100 fresh and 50 dry under pizza oven. Approx. 50 both fresh and dry under prep table next to pizza oven. Approx. 30 fresh on prep table shelf next to pizza oven. 2 fresh on dough shelf above prep table. Approx. 15 fresh under reach in cooler at pizza station. Approx. 15 fresh under reach in cooler on cook line. Approx. 20 fresh by fryer. Approx. 20 fresh under prep table in kitchen with slicer. 4 fresh under table by walk in cooler. Approx. 15 fresh under dish machine. Approx. 25 fresh on top of dish machine. Approx. 15 fresh behind rack next to Hobert mixer.

That’s a lot of rodent droppings, and more were found on February 27th:

Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found, 10 fresh on top of dish machine, 1 fresh by soda boxes and back door, 3 fresh under shelving by back door, 1 fresh on prep table next to pizza oven, 4 fresh behind reach in cooler, 1 fresh by walk in cooler, 5 fresh under microwave on top of steam table in kitchen. **Repeat Violation**

And again on the 28th:

Rodent activity present as evidenced by rodent droppings found, 10 fresh on top of dish machine, 1 fresh by soda boxes and back door, 3 fresh under shelving by back door, 1 fresh on prep table next to pizza oven, 4 fresh behind reach in cooler, 1 fresh by walk in cooler, 5 fresh under microwave on top of steam table in kitchen. **Repeat Violation** **Warning** At time of callback 5 fresh under soda boxes, 1 fresh by wait station, 1 fresh on left side of walk in cooler, 1 fresh on right side of walk in cooler.

They reopened on March 2nd with a nearly perfect inspection. Nino’s II previously had bad inspections in October and February of 2014.
Ninja Spinning Sushi was hit again, this time with 22 violations in early February. Back in September we reported they were hit with 36 violations.
Bluefin Express on Yamato and Rebel House on East Palmetto Park both had 19 violations. We looked through the reports and didn’t see anything that bad.
Four restaurants were hit with 16 violations including Spadini’s (NE 2nd), Madison’s New York Grill (northeast of Town Center), Punjab (Federal Highway) and Nick’s New Haven Pizzeria (east of Town Center). Stir Crazy (Town Center) and Gluttonous Goat (between Mizner Park and Royal Palm Plaza) each had 15 violations. Despite those numbers we didn’t see anything particularly disturbing.
On the good side of our report, Six Tables (just south of Mizner Park) and Tomasso’s Pizzeria (Palmetto just east of I-95) both had perfect inspections. Four restaurants in Town Center were near perfect including Maoz Vegetarian, Shrimp House, Blue Martini and Chick-Fil-A.
Our full spreadsheet for this report is below:
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