Mold, dirty kitchens and bugs found in Knox County’s lowest scoring restaurants

KNOXVILLE (WATE) – A handful of restaurants had a number of violations this week.

Oriental Express, 3001 Knoxville Center Drive – Grade: 80

Our lowest scoring restaurant this week was Oriental Express in Knoxville Center Mall. They received a 80 which is a passing grade, but there were a number of critical violations.

At the restaurant, the inspector noted problems with food temperatures. Chicken and broccoli were at 118 degrees, but they should be at 135 or higher in order to slow the growth of bacteria.

The inspector found mold build up on the ice machines and soda nozzles. They also noted the walk-in cooler was leaking. The restaurant had buckets in place to catch water.

Workers were also observed handling raw chicken and then not washing their hands with soap and water.

Food was also not in their original containers and had not been labeled. This is required in order to stop any mix-ups.

The Sushi Spot, 7535 Barnett Way – Grade: 82

Just off Emory Road, The Sushi Spot also received a passing grade, but they had a number of violations.

Here too, the inspector noted mold build-up in the nozzle of the soda gun. There was also heavy build-up on the ice panel.

Food in the freezer was also not properly covered, according to the inspector.

Also, a display cooler and reach-in cooler was at 48 degrees, but it must be 35 degrees or cooler. Food temperatures were also off. The inspector found salmon at 47 degrees, white fish at 48 degrees and crab meat at 44 degrees. Forty-one degrees and below is required on the cold side to slow the growth of bacteria.

Misaki Japanese Steakhouse, 8207 Kingston Pike – Grade: 82

Misaki Japaneses Steakhouse on Kingston Pike also received an 82. Again, this is a passing grade.

The inspector noted the kitchen was dirty. Heavy build-up of food debris was noted on the walls, floors and equipment.

There was also mold build-up in the ice machine. The inspector also found multiple dead insects found around the restaurant.

They also noticed the restaurant’s most recent inspection score was not posted. Scores are required to be posted.

Shrimp was also improperly thawing in standing water by the inspector. The raw meat must be thawed in a refrigerator to reduce the spread of bacteria. There was also a missing thermometer in the sushi cabinet.

Web Extra: This week’s full inspection reports [PDF]

Baymont Inn & Suites Knoxville North, 6712 Central Avenue Pike – Old Grade: 70 New Grade: 92 

There was also a follow-up from last week. The Breakfast Bar at the Baymont Inn and Suites on Central Avenue received a 70, but it has since been reinspected. Their new score is a 92.

Previous story: Re-inspection required at North Knoxville motel breakfast bar

There will be no re-inspections at the best scoring restaurants of the week.

Top scores of the week:

  • Sweet P’s BBQ, 3725 Maryville Pike – Grade: 100
  • Public House, 212 W. Magnolia Avenue – Grade: 100
  • Misaki Japanese Steakhouse Lounge – Grade: 100
  • Friendship House, 526 Lamar Avenue – Grade: 100
  • Clubhouse, 132 Hinton Drive – Grade: 100
  • Clanton’s BBQ, 2507 E. John Sevier Highway – Grade: 100
  • Green’s Tavern, 9307 Kingston Pike – Grade: 100
  • Sweet P’s BBQ and Downtown Dive, 410 W. Jackson Avenue – Grade: 99
  • Rankin’s, 2200 N. Central Avenue – Grade: 99
  • Jai Dee Thai & Japanese – Grade: 99

Many of the restaurants with high scores are busy serving lots of people and those grades reflect close attention to details.

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