New York’s Best Restaurant Bombed Its Health Inspection

Per Se, which calls itself “the urban interpretation of The French Laundry,” is considered one of the best dining establishments in New York City. The city’s health inspectors seem to disagree. Eater points out that the Columbus Circle restaurant racked up 42 “violation points” during a February 19 inspection—enough to earn a failing “C” grade if Per Se’s owner, American chef Thomas Keller, fails to contest the Department of Health’s findings. (In the meantime, the restaurant is required to display a prominent “Grade Pending” flier.)

What did health inspectors find, exactly? According to the Department of Health’s website, Per Se incurred 7 “sanitary violations,” including 5 “critical violations”:

Violations recorded in the following area(s) and a Notice of Violation issued at the reinspection conducted on 02/19/2014.

“Critical” violations are displayed in red bold.

Violation points: 42 Sanitary Violations

  • Hot food item not held at or above 140º F.
  • Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
  • 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.
  • Tobacco use, eating, or drinking from open container in food preparation, food storage or dishwashing area observed.
  • Wiping cloths soiled or not stored in sanitizing solution.
  • 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.
  • 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.

“This is the best restaurant in New York City,” according to The New York Times.