Nippon Sushi Operating Without Health Dept. Permit

Nippon Sushi, which opened in May at 121 Ludlow St., was approved for a beer and wine license but does not have a health department operating license, according to officials.

Last month Community Board 3 voted to support a liquor license for Nippon Sushi, 121 Ludlow Street. But yesterday we discovered the restaurant is lacking something else —  an operating license from New York City’s health department.

At its October meeting, the board approved a beer and wine permit on several conditions for the small sushi joint, including that it operate as a full-service Japanese restaurant, not host live music and close at 10:30 p.m. during the week and 12:30 a.m. on the weekends.

However, Nippon Sushi, which opened for business six months ago, apparently has never received an operating permit from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, which is responsible for inspecting and grading restaurants.

Late yesterday, CB3 District Manager Susan Stetzer said she would request that the restaurant be inspected, as a follow-up to CB3’s decision on the liquor license. Asked about the establishment’s health inspection certificate, which is supposed to be posted in a prominent place out front, the hostess and sushi chef working last night said the restaurant had not received it yet because it was “new.”

The health department’s operating permit allows a restaurant or bar to do business and to serve food, and ensures each establishment enters the inspection and enforcement system, but it is totally separate from the state’s liquor authority system. (See the Aces and Eights fiasco of 2010 for another example.)