Three Darien Restaurants Get ‘C’ Ratings in Latest Reports from Health Inspections

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Three restaurants in town received a “C” ratings, the worst grade in the town’s  A/B/C ratings system, in the inspection reports released Thursday by the Darien Health Department.

Health Certificate Frosty Bear 01-19-17

Town Health Department ratings certificates are supposed to be displayed prominently, like this one at the Frosty Bear Cafe at Darien Library.

The department released eight health inspection reports on Friday for inspections that took place from Dec. 19 to 26. Three inspections resulted in a “B” rating and an “A” was the rating for two others.

Keep in mind that a food-serving establishment with a history of good ratings may occasionally get a poor inspection rating, occasionally the best do, and every restaurant normally gets a few things wrong.

Here’s an alphabetical list of the most recently released health inspection results (an explanation of how this list is put together is immediately below it):

—Bistro Baldanza — 1020 Post Road — Dec. 20Town Rating: A — State Score: 93

—Chipotle Mexican Grill — 71 Post Road — Dec. 20Town Rating: B — State Score: 89

—The Goose American Bistro — 972 Post Road — Dec. 21Town Rating: C — State Score: 90 — Inspector’s Remarks: “Grilled chicken stored on shelf ranging [from] 87 [to] 90 degrees. Needs to be hot-held at more than 135 [degrees] or cold-held at 41 [degrees]–corrected; food items stored on floor in walk-in cooler downstairs; Unmarked items not in original containers in walk-in cooling unit upstairs; ice scoop has no protective sleeve; broken floor tiles, [at] wall/floor juncture in ware-wash/prep area; repairs made to hood and ceiling tiles missing from area of work. This is at the left end of hood and cook line.” — Inspector’s Comments: “Grilled chicken cooked ahead of time is not a common practice. Today was extremely busy, so extra chicken was cooked and inadvertently left out. Voluntarily discarded. New [hand] sink installed near salad prep in addition, not replacement. All new [paper] towel and soap dispensers for all hand sinks.”

Goose 12-21-19 inspection

Image from the H.D. website

Part of the report from the Dec. 21, 2019 inspection of the Goose American Bistro

—Jennifer’s Kitchen at White Bridge — 284 Tokeneke Road — Dec. 21Town Rating: B — State Score: 91

—Roost Darien — 1950 Post Road — Dec. 19 — Town Rating: C — State Score: 82 — Inspector’s Remarks: “Training for all employees–line chef could not correctly answer a chicken-cooking temp[erature] question; raw chicken over RTE [ready-to-eat] oats and smoothie greens (smoothie station [refrigerator]); bare hand upon entry to kitchen; misuse of gloves–using sanitizer to clean counter and then handling food and handling raw chicken cutlets and then moving on to other kitchen tasks, no hand wash[ing] or glove change. Three separate chicken stations upon entry. Handwashing and sanitizing after [are] extremely important!; three-bay sink set up incorrectly. Must […] wash, rinse, sanitize: Not allowing dishes to be adequately submerged–rinsing knives at three-bay [sink] and then placing in sanit[ary] bucket (knife not covered); cutting board and utensils, knife in storage rack stored unclean; no paper towels at back [of] prep/ware-wash hand sink; small fries observed in kitchen: invoice needed for treatment; phone out on prep counter (smoothie station).” — Inspector’s Comments: “Metal tray on top of service area hand sink. Where is romaine [lettuce] coming from????? Puppy in small crate downstairs. Discussion with managers Jen and Mitch about preparing and handling a large amount of chicken and kale at the same time. Note: Marking chicken on the grill, then left sheet pan at 85 degrees, once questioned then placed in the oven to be fully cooked.”

Roost Inspection Dec 2019

Image from Darien H.D.

Part of the report from the Dec. 19, 2019 inspection of Darien Roost. This report contains one of the oddest observations in an inspection, ever — in the “Comments” section toward the bottom: “*puppy in small crate downstairs*.”

—Scena Wine Bar & Restaurant — 1077 Post Road — Dec. 19Town Rating: C — State Score: 79 — Inspector’s Remarks: “No QFO [qualified food operator] in the kitchen during inspection; staff still needs adequate training in food handling and safety–discussed at recent hearing with Department of Health; employee takes out the trash, comes back into kitchen, removes coat and goes back to working, eventually grabs a pair of gloves (no hand washing); hand sinks used to wash produce (one employee rinsing lettuce, another washing eggplant–two different hand sinks); no sanitizer on the line (green bucket); no hot water at hand sink on the line; shellfish tags not maintained with product in walk-in [cooler or freezer]; large fish tahawing at room temperature (ware-wash area)–sea bass?; in-use knife wedged between bain marie and wall; plumbing issue–leak under three-bay sink.” — Inspector’s Comments: “When will training for employees occur? No one in the kitchen is in charge of safe food handling–asked several employees. Remove wooden spoons and spatulas in poor repair if not used.”

Image from Darien H.D. website

Part of the Dec. 19, 2019 inspection report for Scena Wine Bar and Restaurant.

—Starbucks — 815 Post Road — Dec. 26Town Rating: A — State Score: 98

—Upper Crust Bakery and Cafe — 980 Post Road — Dec. 21Town Rating: B — State Score: 91

Dates link to the food establishment’s inspection report referenced here (when available, sometimes it takes a while to get posted online), and Darien’s own A/B/C ratings link to a Web page showing several of the restaurant’s recent inspection ratings.

For restaurants and other food-serving establishments rated “C,” and for some others of interest to the public (like schools) additional information is given. When we provide that information here, then words within brackets (“[ ]”) have been added for clarity by Darienite.com; semicolons (“;”) separate individual comments by the inspectors. Each comment separated by semicolons is about a particular violation that triggers a deduction of one or more points from a perfect state score of 100.

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See also:

You can find the past several inspection ratings under the Darien ratings system for food-serving establishments along with copies of inspection reports, including state health code scores on this website.

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How Darien’s Food-Serving Places Are Rated

Restaurants in town are rated under the Darien Health Department’s own A/B/C ratings system. Health inspectors also use the state health code regulations to score restaurants, with a perfect score set at 100, and demerits (of 1 to 4 points each) for various code violations.

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The Darien system takes into account problems that are ongoing, so a restaurant scoring higher than others on the state scale may actually get a lower score on the Darien scale.

Health Department Health Inspections Health Reports

The “A”, “B” and “C” letter grades a restaurant gets in its last inspection will be prominent on these certificates, which must be posted where customers can see them, and you can use your phone and the “QR” code to the right of the letter grade to get to the department’s ratings website for more information.

Any establishment actually deemed unsafe can be closed by the town Health Department until violations are fixed. Town Health Director David Knauf says that has never happened in the time he’s been with the department.

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