Health Department Roundup: Sparrow, Napoli, Bismillah and More

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There's something inspiring about seeing Sparrow Bar + Cookshop (3701 Travis) written up yet again for "unapproved eggs used." It's good to know there's a restaurant owner out there who sticks to her guns in the face of what in some cases might be arbitrary regulation. Meanwhile, the inspectors continue to do their job, which we're sure they'd note does not include making the rules. We'd say it's a lot like Les Misérables, but we've never read or seen that, so let's just go ahead and say it's a lot like The Fugitive.

Unfortunately, Sparrow also had some other issues, and an inspector issued the restaurant a citation. Those problems included no Food Service Manager's Certification; no suitable utensil used to handle ready-to-eat foods; food not protected from potential contamination; and raw animal foods not separated from each other.

Also cited was Napoli (5551 Richmond), where an inspector found half a dozen violations. Issues included ice machine not set up in a way that prevents contamination (repeat violation); no Food Service Manager's Certification (repeat); equipment components not properly adjusted; and hand-cleaning soap not available at all hand-washing sinks.

River Oaks Coffee House (3601 Westheimer) earned a violation we've never seen: "Person in charge/food service manager: not routinely monitoring/visibly observing employees evaluating food upon receipt to ensure food safety." This and five other violations led to a citation. The additional problems were potentially hazardous food held at improper temperatures; equipment, utensils or single-service articles stored in an area that exposes them to contamination; plumbing not sized/installed/maintained correctly; improperly constructed floors; and insufficient ventilation.

The Medical Center's Rice Kitchen (2126 Holly Hall, which we've always thought was a great street name) also got ticketed for ten violations, including potentially hazardous food held at improper temperatures; food stored in contact with water/un-drained ice; equipment that's in poor repair, unsanitary or toxic; effective pest-control measures not utilized; dirty wall/ceiling; and dirty non-food-contact surfaces.

Ending on a citation-free note, the subject of this week's cafe review had a decent inspection. Bismillah (5696 Hillcroft) earned four violations: openings to the outside not protected against the entrance of pests; poorly designed or maintained equipment; food in cold storage not held at proper temperatures (corrected on site); and container of food stored too close to the ground.

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