Bill Betterton / Arizona Daily Star

From February

History: This was the newly opened restaurant’s first regular inspection.

What the inspector saw: During the Feb. 8 inspection, the county observed 13 priority violations, far above the minimum five required for a probationary rating. Among the numerous violations were the absence of a manager with “food safety knowledge,” an employee eating while washing dishes, an employee picking things up off the floor and returning to work without washing hands or changing gloves, an employee handling ready-to-eat foods in the sushi area with bare hands, raw chicken stored above cooked chicken, no sanitizer being used in either the automatic dishwasher and three-compartment sink, a number of food items kept at unsafe temperatures, an employee working with raw and cooked meats on the same surface, among several other violations.

Follow-up: The restaurant failed a Feb. 21 follow-up inspection after the county found that six priority violations had not been resolved in the interim. “Items such as hand washing, cleaning of food contact and prep surfaces and prevention of food contamination remain out of compliance,” the follow-up report reads. Additionally, the person-in-charge “failed to provide a corrective action plan,” as requested in the Feb. 10 probationary letter. During the follow-up, the county observed an employee handle dirty dishes then handle clean utensils without washing hands, several employees “contaminating a food prep surface with raw chicken juices and proceeding to use surface to work with ready-to-eat cooked foods,” and another employee drop a raw potato on the floor and then put it in a fryer. All of the remaining violations were resolved by a second follow-up inspection on March 3, according to online county records.

Response: Restaurant partner Frank Lam said that a number of the first-round violations were due to the fact that there was no documentation indicating that the buffet was using time control, as opposed to temperature control, for the buffet foods, an issue that has since been remedied. Lam chalked some of the cross-contamination issues up to space limitations, but said additional prep tables were added to prevent future violations. Other problems could be addressed with “more of a knowledge basis for all of our employees” and that “some negligence” on the part of employees did play a role. A second follow-up was scheduled for Friday, and Lam said “this time we will not have any problems at all. I made sure my kitchen manager is well aware of what’s going on.”

“If we have any other issues, I’ll make sure everything is corrected,” he added.

Contact: mwoodhouse@tucson.com or 573-4235. On Twitter: @murphywoodhouse