Local affiliate channel NBC4 took a deep-dive into the health ratings of some of Los Angeles’ most well-known restaurants last night, emerging with a seriously scathing report. Joel Grover, the deeply tanned investigative reporter known for dropping the hammer on everyone from parking enforcement officers to dirty line cooks, took four restaurants to task in all, from Beverly Hills to Malibu to the San Gabriel Valley.
The first up is Wolfgang's Steakhouse in Beverly Hills, which Grover says was threatened not long ago with a full shutdown after a few serious violations cropped up, including a potential vermin infestation. Nobu Malibu followed, earning critical demerits following a series of alleged illnesses brought on by the restaurant.
Grover says the property hadn’t been inspected by the health department in over a year. At Lunasia in Alhambra and Coast at the hotel Shutters on the Beach in Santa Monica (both of which received sneaky hidden-camera treatment in their kitchens), the NBC4 investigative teams noticed that not only were health violations piling up, the routine inspections meant to curb such behaviors weren’t being done.
More than anything, the NBC4 report is a condemnation of the overworked health inspection system in Los Angeles county, which is taxed with overseeing many thousands of restaurants several times per year. Particularly at ‘high risk’ restaurants that serve undercooked or raw foods, L.A. County head of restaurant inspection Angelo Bellomo says, it’s imperative that those routine inspections are maintained. Yet in at least one of the cases shown in the segment, inspections were more than a year overdue.
For their part, most of the restaurants did comment on the story, saying that they each maintain the highest level of service and food safety, and that any found violations would be handled internally.