Your Fancy Foie Gras Has Poop in It: A Guide to New York's Filthiest Michelin-Starred RestaurantsS

As part of our ongoing inquiry into the filthy elite of New York's food and restaurant scene, today we present annotated Health Department report cards for the least sanitary restaurants that also have Michelin stars.

For reference, "A" ratings have 0-13 sanitary violations; "B" ratings have 14-27; "C" ratings have 28 or more; and "Grade Pending" is code for "crappy grade, but they're trying to shape up and/or are contesting it at a Health Tribunal."

Without further ado, here are the filthiest Michelin-starred restaurants, compiled with assistance from intern Maeve Keirans.


Danji: The Filthiest Fine-Dining in New York

Michelin Stars: 1
Violation Points: 48
Current Grade: GRADE PENDING
Specialty: Kimchi chorizo bacon paella, prepared with unwashed hands.

At this Midtown restaurant, Chef Hooni Kim applies French culinary techniques to Korean tapas while racking up an astonishing quantity of sanitary violations. New York Times critic Sam Sifton named it one of his Top 10 New Restaurants of 2011.

1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. [CRITICAL]
2) Food from unapproved or unknown source or home canned. Reduced oxygen packaged (ROP) fish not frozen before processing; or ROP foods prepared on premises transported to another site. [CRITICAL]
3) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas. [CRITICAL]
4) Hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room. Hot and cold running water at adequate pressure to enable cleanliness of employees not provided at facility. Soap and an acceptable hand-drying device not provided. [CRITICAL]
5) Food contact surface not properly washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred. [CRITICAL]
6) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
7) Covered garbage receptacle not provided or inadequate, except that garbage receptacle may be uncovered during active use. Garbage storage area not properly constructed or maintained; grinder or compactor dirty.
8) Mechanical or natural ventilation system not provided, improperly installed, in disrepair and/or fails to prevent excessive build-up of grease, heat, steam condensation vapors, odors, smoke, and fumes.
9) Single service item reused, improperly stored, dispensed; not used when required.

"Allowing vermin to exist" continues to be an odd violation that even God would not be able to escape. No hand washing in the "toilet room" is downright disturbing, though.


Gilt: 'Eye-Opening' Flavors and Filth

Michelin Stars: 2
Violation Points: 33
Current Grade: GRADE PENDING
Specialty: Lobster seasoned with vanilla and "prohibited chemicals."

Frank Bruni called the "esoteric" cuisine at this Madison Avenue powerhouse "eye-opening" and "eyebrow-raising." Just like its sanitary violations.

1) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. [CRITICAL]
2) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas. [CRITICAL]
3) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service. [CRITICAL]
4) HACCP plan not approved or approved HACCP plan not maintained on premises. [CRITICAL]
5) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.
6) Pesticide use not in accordance with label or applicable laws. Prohibited chemical used/stored. Open bait station used.


Momofuku Ko: Close Quarters and Contaminates

163 1st Ave., at E 10th St.
Michelin Stars: 2
Violation Points: 26
Current Grade: GRADE PENDING
Specialty: Soft-boiled egg with hackleback caviar, drizzled with "toxic chemical."

The most rarefied of David Chang's Momofuku empire, Ko is a tiny restaurant that seats 12, plus contaminates.

1) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. [CRITICAL]
2) Toxic chemical improperly labeled, stored or used such that food contamination may occur. [CRITICAL]
3) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan. [CRITICAL]
4) Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution. [CRITICAL]


Tori Shin: Chicken and 'Filth Flies'

1193 1st Ave., at E 65th St.
Michelin Stars: 1
Violation Points: 25
Current Grade: B
Specialty: Tori sashimi (basically raw chicken sliced thinly) dotted with "filth flies."

As someone who is known to enjoy the occasional raw yakitori chicken dish, I admit that thought of an unsanitary yakitori kitchen is deeply unsettling.

1) Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility's food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies. [CRITICAL]
2) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service. [CRITICAL]
3) Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored. [CRITICAL]
4) Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution. [CRITICAL]
5) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.


Laut: Intemperate Asian Fusion

15 E. 17th St., northeast of Union Square
Michelin Stars: 1
Violation Points: 21
Current Grade: GRADE PENDING
Specialty: Rendang curry with toasted coconut and questionable temperatures.

1) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F. [CRITICAL]
2) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation. [CRITICAL]
3) Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored. [CRITICAL]


None of Manhattan's 3-star restaurants fared worse than an "A" rating. The most unsanitary three-star restaurant was Le Bernadin, which had 13 violation points, including two critical violations for improper washing of food contact surfaces and equipment. The cleanest fine-dining restaurants were the Four Seasons Hotel (3 stars, 2 points); Marea (2 stars, 2 points); the Spotted Pig (1 star, 2 points); and Gramercy Tavern (1 star, 2 points).

Do you know of an impressively filthy fine-dining restaurant? Email maureen@gawker.com.

Top Image by Jim Cooke