Dirty Dining: Return visit to China Max at Hawaiian Marketplace

Darcy Spears

Photo: Video by ktnv.com

Dirty Dining: Return visit to China Max at Hawaiian Marketplace

CREATED Dec. 18, 2013

Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It's the week before Christmas and down on the Las Vegas Strip, we find Contact 13 with an important tip.

This week's Dirty Dining takes us somewhere familiar. When the owner took Chief Investigator Darcy Spears into the kitchen, she found one violation after another.

If you're having deja vu as we walk into Hawaiian Marketplace, it's because Contact 13 has been here a few times in the past for Dirty Dining.

On our first visit to China Max, they were hit with a "C" grade and 34 demerits.

Darcy Spears: We're here because of the health inspection. You guys are on Dirty Dining this week and we want to give you a chance to say why you got so many demerits and what's going on.
R.J. Kusuma: Actually, we have just changed to an A.

Restaurant Owner R.J. Kusuma is quick to point out that they've been re-inspected, but doesn't dismiss the problems that got them in trouble.

"We are very health concerned and understand why we, what we do, has to be a better way."

Inspectors found garlic in oil at an unsafe temperature.

Utensils stored in stagnant water.

Heavily-soiled can opener blades, and:

Darcy: They found leafy greens in your fridge that were more than a month past the sell-by date.  That's pretty old.
R.J.: Actually, well, actually, again, we, I, we, we spoke with the manager and something like that shouldn't happen.  And obviously it's a matter of attention.

Inspectors also wrote them up for having no sanitizer anywhere in the facility.

Darcy: You can't clean with no sanitizer.
R.J.: Well, actually, we completely changed the whole thing.  Everything is by standards.  It's like I said, on behalf of our company, we apologize.

He said they've retrained employees and are focusing on consistency.

"This is unacceptable, so we change everything basically from A to Z."

Not quite everything.

The gap they were cited for in the back door that was an invitation to pests? Still there.

And we found more violations.

Darcy: You do have some chicken uncovered. You know that's supposed to be covered.
R.J.: Yeah, supposed to be...

He instructs his kitchen staff to throw that out. And we found stuff in the freezer that wasn't labeled or dated.

"What is this?" R.J. asks a kitchen worker.

He's told it's calamari, but since he doesn't know where it's from, that goes in the garbage too.

We notice the stove is dirty, which he quickly has an employee wipe down.

And remember that gap in the back door?

"They tried to fix it earlier," explained R.J.

He has them try again as we watch, adding, "I'll make sure everyone follows exactly."

There was one restaurant in this week's batch that was closed due to an imminent health hazard.

Happy's Pizza on West Flamingo didn't have much to smile about when it was shut down due to no hot water.

Inspectors also found food in the fridge that was uncovered and unprotected from potential contamination, dirty conditions in the kitchen, and raw pork that was being improperly thawed.

As we mentioned, China Max has its A grade back. 

And Happy's was reinspected within 24 hours and re-opened with a 3-demerit "A" grade.

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