THE BAD CHINESE BUFFETS



AVOID  FOUR CHINESE BUFFETS IN PINELLAS


1-CHOPSTICKS  SUPER BUFFET CLEARWATER
2543 Countryside Blvd, Suite #1
Clearwater, FL 33761   10/19/2018  When they opened Chopsticks was very clean and inviting. I do not rate a place that I casually visited once, Over the years I have eaten there maybe twenty-seven or so times.   That was then and this is now... and now had a problem and now changed hands and was never the same four years ago. The owners of a this very popular Chinese buffet in Countryside got caught and sentenced for harboring, transporting, and exploiting illegal aliens after a Homeland Security investigation that began in 2011-2013  

I cannot discuss more on that issue, more in Hillsboro County.   I di see some of the reports.  But it was part of an “inter city investigation” that entailed these four places which I ate at were help-wise so alike. They were convicted in late 2013.  The place has deteriorated, gone down hill, the foods not as good and the shabby and they added a TIP fee for busing?  Now its closer to 17.00 for dinner,   and never enough of the crab you are paying for which their friends all grab.   Dirty etc, food not properly stored etc.  


THEN AND NOW - MANY YEARS AGO
Chopsticks uniquely for a crowded place,  very clean and inviting at one time. I do not rate a place that I casually visited once, I make three trips over time, noting the changes and trends, those portable tiny flash recorders are great for notes.  I rated it the best.  Over the years I have dined maybe twenty-seven or so times. We were always greeted, seated and drinks brought quickly. 

That was then and this is now... and now had a problem and now changed hands and was never the same four years ago. The owners of a this very popular Chinese buffet in Countryside got caught and sentenced for harboring, transporting, and exploiting illegal aliens after a Homeland Security investigation that began in 2011.

Three other Chinese Buffets got tagged also.  I always wondered why all of these four places which I ate at were help-wise so alike. They were convicted in late 2013.  Two were owned by one guy, thats collusion.

I hate seeing a place go down hill, and after last night I concluded that this place could not qualify for a buffet service in some third world gulags.   Some of the food I decided to not eat as when I turned it over, it was not fresh, and rather than get sick I passed. 

One example:  The Kim-Chee which is a Korean staple, not Chinese, looked “ contaminated”.   I love Kim-Chee but not that brave, it looked like last weeks and disgusting.  Lots of things I never saw in KimChee looked dirty and unknown...  The crab legs were terrible, from another planet, the shrimp, cheap quality and much of the food looked like it hd been there a few days.

Business is off and I think they are holding food over in the chiller and for service the next day as some of the crab legs were so mushy you could not get the inside out they just "mooshed into nothing".  I have no other word for it. I was cutting both ends off and shoving a straw to push the meat out and finally gave up. I pitched it, showed it to the girl and she smiled. I passed on the snow crab.

Last year, It was just that bad, worse than I reviewed it and even offered to suggest things they could do to improve. But I got the bank stare routine. Four years ago, I knew the origional owners and they did a good job, I could communicate with the two of them.  Not this crew.  

When Clearwater Immigration which was nationally praised for their investigation proved four of four of the Chinese buffets here were involved, and got tagged for various violations, not to mention the food police. Fines and jail time.

Two closed avoiding fines and one got sold.  Another eatery now offers Vietnamese - Lao style cooking. One reopened a year later. I’m not that brave.  The last time I gave them break. So a year later ( now)and the urge to go back to a place I visited a while back if I felt they had gone downhill a bit always believing they would wake up and do things right.

I was wrong. Nothing was right.  At one time I thought this was best in Tampa Bay for American Chinese dinner of sorts.     I have been to many places in China and this is not what they eat. You would probably would NOT be happy in an authentic Chinese street restaurant. No one is comfortable with food that stares back. Chinese street food is not bad, cooked in flame and in front of you,  and if you have a friend like Zimmern does to coach you and bring along the Zantac and Super-Tums.

In the old days they had everything usually found in US Chinese fare, from lo-mein, egg-rolls, spring rolls, chicken many different ways, shrimp, raw and cooked in various sauces. The roasted chicken, the oysters, the mussels and the snow crab were either ice cold or hot and fresh. 

REAL CHINA FOOD  IS AN ART
In a cuisine sit-down mid to high end, Chinese restaurant you may be served twenty or more small servings one at a time and it’s a long affair of delicious and unique dishes. Think of it as they bring the buffet to you one dish at a time.


SNOW CRAB WARS
The usual battles for the snow crab, some folks go there and try to steal the whole bin and not share. Thats normal so I wait and letting people know I’m next and if they jump the line you might just get to wait since I grabbed both tongs and they had none.  At six two and 215 and a shirt that says Ranger I did not get an argument.  Till one idiot pushed ahead of everybody.   I told him his name was “ six”  and thats where his position was in the line. 

My other pet peeve was when people inspect every piece of food in the serving bin. I told one woman if she played enough with the Chicken she would probably revive it.  She cursed me out in a southeast Asian language. I replied in her tongue and some English and threatened to call immigration.

Another occasion, just when I was ready to get some crab, One table of four just cleaned the whole tray of snow crab and all the crawfish. I didn't care this time because the ones I got seemed like leftover from the day before, they were mush. And the meal was deteriorating into a bad experience.

Let them have mush all they want. I waited again and finally got some and they're just the same...small and tasteless. Nothing exhibited anomalies that would deter you from trying them except they were so soft like being double cooked, no crisp breaks on the shells. Soaking too long.

NOT REALLY RIGHT AND FOOD WARS
😡  The extensive fruit, desert and salad bar was right on, cold and fresh. “Fresh” defines how the front manager tends the food and communicates with the kitchen. 
😡  Some hots were OK but the Chicken on the stick and anything not in sauce was not hot at all. And looked old.
😡   Some The salads were good and cold. Some needed turning as they were turning colors.
😡  But some of the dishes piled high like the Crawfish were not hot as they should be and that was solved by an Asian family that walked in and took the whole tray anyway. 
😡  The mussels were about half the size of the ones they served during the tourist season, very small but they were on ice, you just took twice as many. And the replacements were just as small, but were dried out.
😡  So much for the shrimp you-peel-em, they were small and tough. 
😡  The Sushi which I once raved about as the best in Clearwater is no more, it looked old, tasted old and the two Sushi chefs were in their own world. It did not have the the fresh enticing look of Sushi made well. Half were falling apart. 

Whatever...
😡  Basically the seafood side was not up to par as was the price for the buffet raised by two dollars and they added a 10% tip which does not show on the billing, another discussion I will have with them.   One must disclose that to a customer. $36 dollars for two on this buffet was a sham. 

😡  The quality of the food was sub-par and looked like much of it came from the lunch crowd. The food police if they had walked in would have stopped the serving on the service tables as not being within temperature. My visual thermometer told me it was not correct.  

😡  They average 26 violations on their last two inspections...I'm done with them, the place is getting weathered, doesn't look like its had a good cleaning for a long time... and the food was terrible, and no one ssemed to care. i'm hoping I'll be OK in 48 hours...



GOOD FORTUNE BUFFET WAS CLOSED and through a miracle 

IT RE- OPENED AS THE BIG APPLE BUFFET and the BIG APPLE BUFFET II   

1030 58th St N  -  St PetersburgFL 33710  and
1035 62nd Ave -   St. Petersburg, Florida 33702

ORIGIONAL GOOD FORTUNE WAS:  THIS PLACE WAS SO BAD, I CAN’T WRITE WHAT I THINK OF IT, THEY’LL ARREST ME.  OK, IT WAS SH*THOUSE

The place, and especially the owner, the staff was disgusting, Bad food, bad management, bad staff, bad policy...  one of the worst places in St. Petersburg.


NEW VERSION:  Dirtiest, worst Chinese buffet ever opened is in round two...All food was overcooked and cold, never thrown out and we tried several dishes. Poor service, no refills on drinks. Overpriced ($28.87 for two adult buffets and watered down iced teas. 

It closed and was  “sold”   ( in the past this game goes usually to relatives) and reopened.  And is setting new records as disgusting  and they have a second location at 1035 62nd ave St Petersburg equally disgusting and terrible. 


Inspectors Note  MAY 21st.

Basic - Bowl or other container with no handle used to dispense food. Bulk food **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
Basic - Build-up of food debris, dust or dirt on nonfood-contact surface. Hood filters **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
Basic - Dead roaches on premises. 1 on hibachi line- discarded, 4 in storage hallway **Corrected On-Site** **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
Basic - Employee beverage container on a food preparation table or over/next to clean equipment/utensils. Cutting board- moved **Corrected On-Site** **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
Basic - Employee personal food not properly identified and segregated from food to be served to the public. Sushi bar reach in cooler- moved **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
Basic - Equipment in poor repair. Walk in cooler shelving with rust that has pitted the surface **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
Basic - Fly sticky tape hanging over food/food preparation area/food-contact equipment. **Warning**
Basic - In-use utensil not stored on a clean portion of food preparation or cooking equipment. Tongs on pipe on cook line- removed **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
Basic - In-use utensil stored in standing water less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit. Hibachi line 117°f **Warning**
High Priority - Chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength for manual warewashing.  Do not use equipment/utensils not properly sanitized. 0ppm chlorine refilled to 100ppm chlorine **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
High Priority - Employee touched soiled surface and then engaged in food preparation, handled clean equipment or utensils, or touched unwrapped single-service items without washing hands. Placed hat on head no handwash before returning to work- had employee wash hands **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
High Priority - Live, small flying insects in kitchen, food preparation area, or food storage area. 1 by hibachi buffet line, 4 in back prep **Warning**
High Priority - Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. cooked shrimp 37-56°f iced product, Krab 53-68°f placed ice under product **Corrective Action Taken** **Warning**
High Priority - Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food hot held at less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Malayasian chicken 95-183°f reheated to 169-177°f **Corrected On-Site** **Repeat Violation** **Warning*
High Priority - Raw animal food stored over ready-to-eat food. Raw chicken over Krab walk in cooler, raw fish over cooked shrimp- rearranged **Corrected On-Site** **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
High Priority - Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in walk-in freezer - all products not commercially packaged. Raw chicken over beef and pork **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
High Priority - Self-service salad bar/buffet lacking adequate sneezeguards or other proper protection from contamination. Green onions, crispy noodles, cookies **Repeat Violation** **Warning**
Intermediate - Handwash sink not accessible for employee use due to being blocked by cart. 1 handwash sink Sushi bar- moved **Corrected On-Site** **Warning**
   

CURRENT FINES FOR THIS 62 Ave LOCATION ARE $800.00    



HIBACHI BUFFET  •AVOID•   Dirty Dining - Several Hit’s
PINELLAS PARK FLORIDA at 49th Street, Still Open
Local buffet had over 70 violations with improper food temperatures over the last year.  I was a fan, we were disgusted with the food, the help, the owners attitude

They just weren’t watching the front end.   Lots of skim over, food not turned and many larger dishes like the roast totally uncared for and unappetizing.  

Inside that refrigeration unit earlier this year, inspectors discovered  enough violations on several occasion to throw the food out.    

Over the last year, 73 violations were documented, including other temperature issues with garlic-in-oil/margarine/butter mixture, raw fish, chicken wings, sushi, shell eggs, along with egg foo young and beef on the buffet at improper temperatures.   Yea! I too responded,  I responded we never went back… attitude, indifference to the laws.

Inspectors Note   APRIL 2019



GOLDEN WOK CHINESE BUFFET     CONFIRMED THREE TIME LOSER, OPEN

1410 Missouri Ave N LargoFL 33770       

I have eaten here on three occasions to get a confirmation.  The buffet generally serves the same thing every day.  

I had several problems with the food: No punches pulled,  it was not fresh, horrid looking, some of it severely, dried with almost a solid skim coat, probably from cornstarch or flour used for the gravies and sauces as a thickener, on the stainless hot tables. 

More than one or two had this yesterday’s dinner look. Three times I saw this on three occasions. 

How long are they holding food and I wonder how much gets carried over.  Some foods are OK, till tomorrow if immediately put in the chillers and sealed with Saran wrap. Some can be really bad to the lower tract if not. Some of the food had congealed, some had hardened with age.  Some I had no words for other than disgusting.


  • Inspector's Note
  • Basic - Bathroom located inside establishment not completely enclosed with tight-fitting, self-closing doors. Bathroom in kitchen.
  • Basic - Bowl or other container with no handle used to dispense food. In bulk bins n dry storage room. **Corrected On-Site**
  • Basic - Clean utensils stored between equipment and wall. Knives on wall near three compartment sink
  • Basic - Damaged/spoiled/recalled food not properly segregated. Dented cans on shelf in storage room.
  • Basic - Duct tape used to repair nonfood-contact surface. Handles on deli style cooler on cooks line.
  • Basic - Employee beverage container in a food preparation/clean dishware area does not have a lid and a straw or equivalent dispensing mechanism to prevent hand contact with lip contact area of drink container. On cooks line. **Corrected On-Site**
  • Basic - Employee personal items stored in or above a food preparation area. Box of employee items including clothes and lotion. **Corrected On-Site**
  • Basic - Grease accumulated on kitchen floor and/or under cooking equipment. Cooks line.
  • Basic - No handwashing sign provided at a hand sink used by food employees. At hand wash sink next to three compartment sink
  • Basic - Observed standing water in bottom of reach-in cooler. Small 2 door reach in cooler on cooks line.
  • Basic - Reach-in cooler shelves with rust that has pitted the surface. On upright reach in cooler across from fryers. Walk in cooler door has hole in exterior. Outside of ice machine rusted
  • Basic - Wet wiping cloth not stored in sanitizing solution between uses.
  • Basic - Working containers of food removed from original container not identified by common name. Bulk bin in storage room. Salt per manager.
  • High Priority - Chlorine sanitizer not at proper minimum strength for manual warewashing. Do not use equipment/utensils not properly sanitized. 0 ppm chlorine corrected to 50 ppm. **Corrected On-Site**
  • High Priority - Dented/rusted cans present. See stop sale. 3 #10 cans of ketchup 1#10 can of baby corn
  • High Priority - Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food cold held at greater than 41 degrees Fahrenheit. Cooked seafood in top of reach in cooler, not below chill line placed on top of other items last night And found at 44-46°f at 11:37am. Garlic in oil mix on crash cart at 54°f moved to reach in cooler. Cut melon 48°f on buffet added to existing time as a public health control plan.
  • High Priority - Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food hot held at less than 135 degrees Fahrenheit or above. Roast pork loin on hot side of sushi area at 128°f. Had manager reheat. Salt and pepper squid 131°f added to existing time as a public health control **Corrective Action Taken**
  • High Priority - Potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food reheated for hot holding not reaching 165 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds within 2 hours. Rice to serve on buffet only reheated to 157°f. Had employee heat to 165°f for hot holding on buffet. Crab stuffed buns reheated to 71°f for hot holding on buffet. Had manager reheat. **Corrective Action Taken**
  • High Priority - Raw animal food stored over cooked food. Raw chicken over cooked chicken in upright reach in cooler on cooks line. Raw chicken over multiple cooked/ready to eat food items in walk in cooler.
  • High Priority - Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in reach-in freezer - all products not commercially packaged. Unpackaged raw chicken over raw beef in walk in freezer.
  • High Priority - Stop Sale issued on potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food due to temperature abuse. Cooked seafood in top of reach in cooler, not below chill line placed on top of other items last night And found at 44-46°f at 11:37am.
  • Intermediate - Accumulation of food debris/grease on food-contact surface. Rice cooker
  • Intermediate - Certified Food Manager or person in charge lacks knowledge of foodborne illnesses and symptoms of illness that would prevent an employee from working with food, clean equipment and utensils, and single-service items.
  • Intermediate - Ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food prepared onsite and held more than 24 hours not properly date marked. Gravy, cooked meats, noodles opened time/temperature controlled for safety items in walk in cooler
  • Count Violation



ORIENTAL SUPER BUFFET -  RT 60 CLEARWATER

2456 Gulf To Bay Blvd  •  ClearwaterFL 33765

JUNE 16, 2015 - 2019  Being a benevolent individual and always trying to keep up the accuracy of what we consider food establishments worthy in the Tampa bay area we sometimes go back to see if things improved.  
In this case we covered this establishment three additional times and found the same bad habits and bad food still prevail thus awarding the Oriental Super Buffet our prestigious award the Vomitus  Emeritus two years running for getting worse not better.  

And I would like to know in Clearwater who voted this place the number one Oriental buffet in Clearwater and please let me know what you were smoking or drinking, and or who signed your paycheck.  We call them shills...

  • Inspector's Note
  • Basic - Ceiling/ceiling tiles/vents soiled with accumulated food debris, grease, dust, or mold-like substance. Throughout kitchen **Repeat Violation**
  • Basic - Food stored on floor. Oil buckets on floor in kitchen Container of salmon on floor in freezer. Manager elevated all items. **Corrected On-Site**
  • Basic - Gaskets with slimy/mold-like build-up. Meat walk in cooler
  • Basic - Large amount of unused equipment/supplies present. Ice machine **Repeat Violation**
  • Basic - Walk-in cooler gasket torn/in disrepair. Meat walk in cooler
  • Basic - Walk-in cooler/freezer shelves with rust that has pitted the surface. **Repeat Violation**
  • Basic - Wiping cloth chlorine sanitizing solution not at proper minimum strength.  Bucket in wait station near sushi bar 0 ppm. Manager corrected to 100 ppm. **Corrected On-Site**
  • High Priority - Raw animal foods not properly separated from one another based upon minimum required cooking temperature in walk-in cooler. 
  • Raw chicken on shelf over raw beef in walk in cooler. Manager moved chicken. **Corrected On-Site**
  • Intermediate - Commercially processed ready-to-eat, potentially hazardous (time/temperature control for safety) food opened and held more than 24 hours not properly date marked after opening. 
  • Milk opened yesterday morning. Manager put date on container. **Corrected On-Site**
  • Intermediate - No paper towels or mechanical hand drying device provided at handwash sink. Wait station near sushi bar. Manager replaced paper towels. **Corrected On-Site**