It’s no surprise when Knot Just Pretzels in Penn Station gets a health inspection score that puts it in the C range — what is surprising is when the city’s No. 1 restaurant, Le Bernardin, is thwacked with an even higher number of demerit points. The five-star eatery’s hold message touts its Zagat, Times, and Michelin ratings, but what it doesn’t mention is that it received 32 demerits (4 points above the C mark) on an inspection last Friday. Mais est-ce possible? Is Eric Ripert spending too much time broing down with Anthony Bourdain?
General Manager David Mancini tells us you won’t see a C plastered on his window just yet. He’s expecting a follow-up on the initial “courtesy inspection” in the next week or two and tells us, “As aggressive as the inspection was, I don’t want to make any comment until they come back and reinspect us, and then I’ll probably have a great deal of comment.” Over the past three years, Le Bern had maintained scores in the A or B range, though it’s no stranger to mice droppings in the flour. Here’s what it got nailed for this time — the first three violations are deemed “critical” by the Health Department.
1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
2) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.
3) Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.
4) Plumbing not properly installed or maintained; anti-siphonage or backflow prevention device not provided where required; equipment or floor not properly drained; sewage disposal system in disrepair or not functioning properly.
5) Non-food contact surface improperly constructed. Unacceptable material used. Non-food contact surface or equipment improperly maintained and/or not properly sealed, raised, spaced or movable to allow accessibility for cleaning on all sides, above and underneath the unit.
6) Proper sanitization not provided for utensil ware washing operation.
7) Other general violation.