Dirty Dining: Sin City Sushi
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- A southeast Valley restaurant that adopted Las Vegas' nickname had its sushi bar shut down by the Health District because of an imminent health hazard.
Sin City Sushi committed a sanitation sin so severe that it alone was enough to shut down the sushi bar inside this restaurant on Eastern Avenue near the 215.
A big part of the sushi bar's 45 demerits was a floor sink, which was overflowing and spewing liquid waste onto the sushi bar floor, making it impossible to keep a safe and sanitary environment for food prep.
We went there looking for answers and the owner's wife, Yu Chung, told us they were waiting on a plumber the day health inspectors just happened to drop by.
Darcy Spears: Buy why didn't you just voluntarily shut down if you knew it was such a big problem?
Yu Chung: I don't know.
The plumbing problem extended to the handsinks. Inspectors found one had no hot water and the other had no water at all.
When they took us behind the sushi bar, we caught them doing something inspectors wrote them up for -- handling ready-to-eat food with their bare hands. At least the handsinks are working again.
On inspection day ...
Darcy: They said there were refrigerator gaskets and trash can handles that were caked with food debris and that the wall and floors were dirty.
Yu: Oh no, we're clean. The walls are clean. Sometimes the Health Department writes up little things. We are clean but they see just a little bit they give demerits for that. Anyway, the Health Department is very strict.
Health inspectors said the cutting boards weren't being cleaned as often as they should be.
They also found sushi rice way out of the safe temperature zone and employees using duct tape for handles on the sushi cases.
Chung showed us that the sushi case doors now have real handles.
And she, like many other small restaurant owners we've spoken to, is suspicious of the Health District's motives.
Yu: I think they need more money.
Darcy: You think they need more money and that's why they write stuff up?
The restaurant, which has a separate health permit from the sushi bar, was also inspected on Oct. 2 and it received a 20-demerit "B" grade for things like food being at unsafe temperatures and dirty, greasy conditions.
Both received "A" grades on re-inspection and the sushi bar was allowed to reopen the very next day.
The Health District says they're focused on correcting violations, not collecting money. And they point out that their fees are approved by the Board of Health. They say the "C" downgrades and closures which generate those high re-inspection fees are only four percent of all routine food inspections.