Is it too much to ask Indian restaurants in New York City that they keep their premises and kitchens reasonably clean?
Indian restaurants in New York City are notoriously dirty.
Restrooms without toilet paper, spoiled food, dirty outer garments of staff, rats, mice, flying insects and other live animals are only some of the ugly aspects of many Indian restaurants in NYC.
We are sick and tired of reading New York City Health Department inspection reports that reveal how dirty our desi restaurants are.
The newest New York Indian restaurant to embrace rats, mice and flying insects is Dhaba on Lexington Avenue in Manhattan.
According to the New York City Department of Health, Dhaba is not vermin proof and has evidence of flying insects or live flying insects, mice or live mice, rats or live rats present in the facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
The NYC Department of Health inspected Dhaba restaurant on September 26, 2008.
Dhaba Indian Restaurant (108 Lexington Avenue, New York City), a recent addition to the Lexington curry hill area, is part of Bollywood supporting actor Shiva Natarajan’s chain of restaurants, which include Chola and Tadka.
Sanitary Violations observed at Dhaba during the September 26, 2008 inspection:
1.) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to vermin exist.
2.) Evidence of flying insects or live flying insects present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
3.) Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
4.) Evidence of rats or live rats present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
5.) Appropriately scaled metal stem-type thermometer not provided or used to evaluate temperatures of potentially hazardous foods during cooking, cooling, reheating and holding.
A NYC restaurant needs a score of 27 or less to pass the NYC Health Dept inspection. Dhaba passed the restaurant inspection by receiving 20 points.
The NYC Department of Health said a Notice of Violation was not issued as a result of this inspection. But the violation point total received by Dhaba is above the average violation point total of 15, for all NYC restaurants on their most recent inspection.
Dhaba owner and executive chef Shiva Natarajan once whined to us that pests like mice plague the finest restaurants in New York City.
But that’s not the whole truth.
While a lot of NYC Indian restaurants are found lacking in hygiene, some of Dhaba’s neighbors like Madras Mahal have received a clean chit from the New York City Health Department with zero violations.
We think ultimately the onus is on the owner of the Indian restaurant to keep it clean.
Sadly, cleanliness is where NYC Indian restaurant owners like Shiva Natarajan fall short.
And you thought only Indian restaurants in India are dirty. Wait till you see their dirty New York counterparts.