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Nov 3, 2011 08:08 AM

Now I know my A, B, C......

As pretty much all NYC restaurants have now received their publicly reported grades, I have seen more and more of my favorites receiving grades of B or even C. Should I be avoiding these? When you look at the inspection history and see scores for the same restaurant varying by 40 points or more over a brief period of time, it calls into question the validity of the process. But still--a rating of C because of filth flies and poor refrigeration? Ugh.

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  1. I think you have to you use your own experience and discretion for this one.

    A place I frequent in Chinatown recently received a "C" grade. I've been eating there for the past 7 years and have never gotten sick or had a bad dish. I will continue to give them my patronage.

    1. Is it possible for a chef/cook to have a good understanding/respect for the kind of things that will make someone ill, but still be sort of a slob about other things in the kitchen? They might keep all of their raw meats away from their cutting boards, for example, but not clean the cutting boards well enough or often enough?

      1. I'd say it all depends on the inspector and the time of year. I have never worked in a restaurant that didn't have a problem with fruit flies in the summer months. Refrigeration can break down at any time, and it does. Health inspections can be VERY thorough, and this is, overall, a good thing, but a restaurant can be cited for any number of crazy reason, none of which, we would normally think about. I'd say, if the restaurant consistently gets C's, you might want to think about it, but if their results vary, assume they are fine. We once had an inspector mark us down because the stock pots weren't covered. According to this 'by the book' inspector, all pots hd to be covered at all times. While that makes sense from a public safety standpoint, it certainly makes it pretty hard to make stock.

        1. Perhaps the C-grade restaurants couldn't afford the health inspector's "fee."

          1. In a nutshell, as with most government stuff, take everything with a grain of salt and use your own brain to decide.