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Restaurant Report Card: May 2011

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Restaurants that receive a grade lower than "A" can post a "Grade Pending" certificate while they appeal.

Here at The Lo-Down, we know our readers care a lot about local restaurants. We are all fortunate to live, work and play in a neighborhood stocked with interesting places to eat and drink. We welcome the new ones and look forward to giving them a try; we grieve the loss of old favorites; and we love to analyze all the ones in between.

This month, we are launching a new restaurant feature: The second Wednesday of each month, we’ll post a summary of the previous month’s health department inspections for eateries in the 10002 ZIP code.

Under a grading system implemented last July, the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene inspects about 24,000 restaurants annually. The system was implemented amid significant protest from the restaurant industry, which labeled it unfair and gimmicky and predicted it would force many restaurants out of business.

Inspectors issue points for failing to conform to regulations on food handling, personal hygiene, vermin control and other sanitary, safety and administrative issues. The restaurants are then given letter grades, which must be posted where patrons can easily see them. Zero to 13 points is an A; 14 to 27 points is a B; 28 points or more is a C.

Restaurants that earn a C are re-inspected roughly once a month until either they raise their score, or the health department shuts them down. A restaurant can also contest its grade, and in that case, is allowed to post a “Grade Pending” certificate until its appeal is heard.

In the year ending April 30, 2011, 37 percent of all restaurants in the five boroughs received an A grade, while 42 percent received Bs, according to a city report. Five percent were closed by the health department and the remaining 16 percent received C grades.

Because we know it’s a tough business, and that inspection results offer only one snapshot in time, we have chosen to list only those that earn 28 or more violation points, or a C grade. In a nod to excellence, we’ll also be calling out the establishments that earned 3 points or less. For more details on how the city grades restaurants, see the guide (opens a PDF).

Because of the way the search function works on the city’s website, we cannot link directly to individual restaurant reports here, but you can visit the website, type in the name of any restaurant and view the details of all recent inspections.

Here’s the report for last month:

First, the good news — Noodle Bar at 172 Orchard St., which was inspected on May 11, earned zero points. Hawa Smoothies, a relatively new place at 181 E. Broadway, earned only two points during its May 25 inspection. Rounding out the best scores of the month were Best Fuzhou, 71 Eldridge St., 3 points on May 16; Desserts NYC, 155 E. Broadway, 3 points on May 23; and Xi’an Famous Foods, 88 E. Broadway, 3 points on May 11.

Here’s the 28 points and over list, from highest score to lowest:

Address Inspection Date Points
China Favorite (Closed By Health Dept.) 96 E. Broadway 5/19/2011 76
Lok Sing Chinese Restaurant 290 Grand St. 5/18/2011 68
Noodle King 19 Henry St. 5/9/2011 54
Neway Ktv 90 Eldridge St. 5/6/2011 47
Wa Lung Kitchen 557 Grand St. 5/18/2011 45
Fu Zhou Wei Chinese Restaurant 88 E. Broadway 5/18/2011 44
Shalom Chai Pizza 357 Grand St. 5/17/2011 44
Mangiami 9 Stanton St. 5/18/2011 43
Kuta 65 Rivington St. 5/24/2011 42
Epstein’s Bar 82-84 Stanton St. 5/9/2011 41
New Living Room Cafe 154 Ludlow St. 5/24/2011 40
388 Cafe & Deli 1-3 Eldridge St. 5/20/2011 40
Reach House Chinese Restaurant 88 Division St. 5/5/2011 38
Saro 102 Norfolk St. 5/24/2011 37
Kush 191 Chrystie St. 5/25/2011 36
Fuleen Seafood Restaurant 11 Division St. 5/18/2011 36
Fontana’s 105 Eldridge St. 5/23/2011 35
East Corner Wonton 70 E. Broadway 5/9/2011 35
Donnybrook 37 Clinton St. 5/25/2011 34
Fuji Catering 27 Ludlow St. 5/6/2011 34
New Spring Boy Chinese Restaurant 81 Allen St. 5/20/2011 32
Gude Gude 70 Forsyth St. 5/9/2011 32
49 Hua Xia 49 Division St. 5/6/2011 32
Double Dragon Restaurant On Eldridge 13 Eldridge St. 5/23/2011 31
La Isla Cafe 212 Delancey St. 5/10/2011 30
East Seafood Restaurant 17 Division St. 5/23/2011 29
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  1. I saw a place on Orchard st. with a B in the window, now that is not exactly an A and does not inspire confidence, why would they put a B up instead of grade pending? Is it expensive to get re-evaluated?   Won’t mention the name. I think the system is dumb.

  2. It works like this…you have 3 chances to get an A grade.  The health department shows up unannounced and evaluates a restaurant.  If you get an A grade the first time it’s a done deal, and that’s the grade you post on your window.  If you get lower than an A, a different inspector will show up and re-evaluate the restaurant anywhere from 1-3 weeks later.  If you get an A the second time, then you post it.  If after the second inspection you still receive lower than an A then you can take it to court to appeal the decision.  During this whole process the restaurant has to post the “grade pending” card.  Whatever happens after the court date is the grade you have to post.  If anything, when you see the grade pending card, it means they didn’t get an A on first evaluation. 

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