‘Dead roach in microwave’: Moldy meatballs, flies on plantains force three South Florida restaurants shut

South Florida Sun Sentinel

Oct 18, 2021 3:41 PM

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Sun Sentinel Restaurant Inspections

Sun Sentinel Restaurant Inspections

Serious pest problems plagued three — yes, just three — restaurants in all of Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties last week. They were ordered shut by state inspectors.

Yes, you can admit it: This is odd. Restaurants are rarely this well-behaved. Did every insect suddenly decide to bugger off with cooler weather approaching? The answer is no, and as evidence, we present the following cringe-worthy note left by state inspectors at El Tiburon Seafood Restaurant and Grill in Fort Lauderdale: 30 flies “landing on pans of plantains and flour sitting [on] prep table in the kitchen.”

Ah, so that’s where they went. Inspectors likewise found pests (and moldy food) at Prestige Restaurant and Bakery in Miami Gardens and Flavor of India in Lake Worth.

The South Florida Sun Sentinel highlights restaurant inspections in Broward and Palm Beach counties from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. We cull through hundreds of restaurant and bar inspections that happen weekly and spotlight places ordered shut for “high-priority violations,” like improper food temperatures or dead cockroaches.

Sun Sentinel readers can browse full Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade county reports on our state inspection map, updated weekly (usually Monday) with fresh data pulled from the Florida DBPR website.

Any restaurant that fails inspections must stay closed until it passes a follow-up state inspection. If you spotted a possible violation and wish to file a complaint, contact Florida DBPR here. (But don’t contact us: The Sun Sentinel doesn’t inspect restaurants.)

Prestige Restaurant and Bakery, Miami Gardens

Ordered shut: Oct. 15 and Oct. 16, remains closed

Why: 24 violations (six high priority), led by 30 live flies “landing on pans of plantains and flour sitting [on] prep table in the kitchen,” on the grease trap, landing on a food cart, landing on the hand-washing sink, and hovering in “dining area closet.” The state also found “1 dead roach in microwave” and 25 rodent droppings “in the dining area” and “behind front counter ice machine.” If that didn’t sound alarming enough, inspectors also “observed molded undated cooked beans, cooked chicken and meatballs in the reach-in cooler.” Of course, the restaurant was ordered to stop selling the moldy beans, chicken and meatballs, along with a “pan of dough wrapped in a garbage bag in the reach-in cooler,” due to “food not being in a wholesome, sound condition.” Inspectors kept the restaurant closed when its follow-up inspection on Oct. 16 found 13 more live flies in the dining area and kitchen and 40 more rodent droppings.

El Tiburon Seafood Restaurant and Grill, Fort Lauderdale

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Ordered shut: Oct. 14, reopened Oct. 15

Why: The state discovered 14 violations (seven high priority), such as 10 dead flies “inside fresh fish display case in kitchen,” “landing on to-go containers” and landing on “cutting boards and preparation tables.” The restaurant operation killed one fly – others escaped – and discarded the to-go containers. The restaurant’s fly problems appeared to clear up during the state’s second visit on Oct. 15, and El Tiburon was allowed to reopen with two minor issues.

Flavor of India, Lake Worth

Ordered shut: Oct. 12 and Oct. 13, reopened Oct. 13

Why: Nine violations (two high priority), including 61 live cockroaches “crawling on hallway wall,” “inside a plastic film wrap box on prep table,” and “too many to count under white chest freezer” and beneath two trash cans in the kitchen. During their second inspection Oct. 13, inspectors found two more live roaches crawling on the shelf and floors of a dry food storage area, which the restaurant owner killed and sanitized. Despite finding another trio of problems during their third inspection the same day, inspectors let the restaurant reopen.

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