Healthcode, A, B,C ?
I am interested what others think about the health code rating, does a B or C deter you from trying a place?
Yesterday I ate at Secorras on Sherman Way,a tacqueria with a B grade.
It was pretty crowded, usually a good sign.
The food was not so great, except for tasty handmade tortillas. The meats were stewed/ chile style, and I really prefer barbequed/grilled.
To make a short story shorter, I became pretty sick last night..yuck. Now I will be looking at the B with a bit more trepidation.
The comment regarding axes to grind is VERY appropriate. The inspectors can be absolutely vile people if they got up on the wrong side of the bed, which apparently is frequently. A restaurant has 3 cooks quit the day before an inspector shows up and then gets downgraded because the replacement help did not have sufficient time to get up to speed on the fine points of a kitchen. One demerit can cost 10 points, meaning a B before you really get going.
Until recently my husband was in the restaurant business in downtown LA. He would have apoplexy every time the health inspector came in because he knew how easy it was to lose his "A" rating (side towels on the floor, burned out light bulbs, boxes on the floor). 10 dings and you're in "B" territory--disaster in a corporate environment. Also, each inspector has his own personal axe to grind. I take the codes with a huge grain of salt (iodized or kosher) and let my own observations prevail.
I interviewed a Health Department inspector a while ago, and after doing so I still go to "B" rated restaurants. I will confess that I develop a hesitation in my step when I see a "C" rating, though.
A word about the "vermin" code, which many people regard as the most scary markdown: It can happen to anybody, and is most likely to happen to restaurants that have fresh produce delivered in quantity. If an order of tomatoes gets delivered and there are fruit flies delivered somewhere in the crate - and this can happen to anybody - and the health inspector walks in before the staff has had time to unpack the crate and dispose of the infected stuff, the restaurant gets marked down for vermin. Any produce that is delivered may contain critters that hitchhiked along for the ride, and if an inspector walks in while the critters are there, the establishment will be marked down. The only restaurants that can operate with no fear in this regard are those that serve everything from cans, freezers, and vacuum packs - which is why some of the most awful fast food joints tend to have high ratings. I believe that there are not the type of restaurants that most Chowhounds prefer.
I tend to be more concerned when I read that restaurants don't have hot water, that they don't maintain appropriate storage temperatures, or that they have gross contamination of utensils. These are correctible flaws that are under the control of the restaurant staff, and that do imperil the health of customers. As such I take them much more seriously.
I often eat at B restaurants and haven't had trouble. I must say that I have walked into a few C places, and after looking around, I walked out. I've eaten at one or two C's, and I just didn't want to go back.
anyone remember the revival cafe that was ruined by the channel 2 undercover reports on dirty restaurants? it was a nice place, and I thought the food was carefully prepared inspite of CBS.
I agree with that train of thought. Before we had this rating system, we probably ate at places that should have been closed down....and we lived to tell the tale.
I think getting a little sick from food comes with the territory of being a chowhound, IMHO. Obviously, I'm not intentionally seeking our B or C places...but it doesn't stop me from going. I don't see many C's anymore.