In Virginia, restaurant inspection reports aren't quite as simple as getting a letter grade or an easy to see number rating to post in the front window.
That said, we all want to know how our favorite restaurants stack up on cleanliness and sanitation.
In Fairfax County, inspectors grade restaurants based on critical and non-critical violations.
A "critical violation" is one that "poses a direct or immediate threat to the safety of the food being served." Non-critical violations are generally related to cleaning or maintenance.
"Ideally, an operation would have no critical violations, or none which are not corrected immediately and not repeated. In our experience, it is unrealistic to expect that a complex, full-service food operation can routinely avoid any violations," according to Virginia Department of Health's website.
The site continues: "Keep in mind that any inspection report is a 'snapshot' of the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, a restaurant could have fewer or more violations than noted in the report. An inspection conducted on any given day may not be representative of the overall, long term cleanliness of an establishment."
Since our last round-up, the following McLean restaurants have been inspected by the Virginia Department of Health. The full reports can be accessed on the health department's website.
Corner Bakery Cafe, 2001 International Dr.
- Critical: The health inspector observed sliced cheese in direct contact with shelving in the refrigerator.
- Critical: The inspector observed that macaroni and cheese was being kept warm at an unsafe temperature.
- Critical: Several food items were being stored at the wrong temperature, including cut cooked chicken, diced tomatoes, crumbled blue cheese, sliced provolone cheese, shredded cheddar cheese, liquid egg white, ravioli, fettuccini, yogurt, cooked pasta, pasta salad and milk.
JR's Stockyards Inn, 8130 Watson St.
- No critical violations
Williams-Sonoma, inside Tysons Galleria
- Critical: There is no Certified Food Manager present in the establishment.
- Critical: "The establishment has been ordered to close due to the lack of a Certified Food Manager. The establishment shall remain closed until there is a Certified Food Manager on premises."
- Critical: The inspector observed, "Raw animal food holding in a manner that may cause cross contamination of ready-to-eat food as follows: Raw shell eggs holding over butter in the Victory upright stacked refrigerator/freezer."
- Editor's Note: Williams-Sonoma inside Tysons Galleria remains open. The health inspection report indicates that a permit for the store has been suspended because no certified food manager was present during food preparation, which violates health department policy.
Starbucks Coffee, inside Tysons Galleria
- No critical violations
Grill Kabob, inside Tysons Corner Center
- Critical: The inspector noticed that the can opener exhibited grime and debris.
- Critical: The inspector noted, "the chlorine-based sanitizing solution was observed to be at a concentration less than what is required for effective sanitization of food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils."
- Critical: Samosas were being held at an improper temperature inside the refrigerator.
, 1454 Chain Bridge Road
- Critical: Milk was being held at an unsafe temperature in the refrigerator.
- Critical: "The concentration of the Quarternary Ammonia solution was measured at 500 ppm. This concentration exceeds the approved limits for use with food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils in a foodservice establishment."
Red Tomato Pizzeria, 1327 Chain Bridge Road
- Critical: There was no Certified Food Manager present at the beginning of the inspection.
- Critical: One or more of the elements of an effective employee health policy was either missing or incomplete.
- Critical: A hand washing sink was removed.
- Critical: Dented cans of tuna and tomato sauce were found in the restaurant.
- Critical: A santizing solution was tested and was found to be too weak.
- Critical: A chlorine-based solution used to clean food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils was tested and was also found to be too weak.
- Critical: Plates were not sanitized.
- Critical: Three different types of cheese and a cheesecake were found being held at unsafe temperatures.
- Critical: The inspector observed a lasagna, ricotta mixture that had been prepared over 24 hours ago and was not datemarked.
- Critical: "The following food item for which time rather than temperature is being used as a control was not cooked, served or discarded by the expiration time as indicated: Pizza."
- Critical: Raid and Boric Acid, which were labelled for residential use, were found in the restaurant.
- Critical: Working containers of poisonous and toxic materials were not properly labeled with a common name.
Bistro Vivant, 1394 Chain Bridge Road
- Critical: The inspector observed an employee handling cooked chicken and lime used for garnish on drinks with his or her bare hands.
- Critical: "The following fish offered for service or sale in the ready-to-eat form was not frozen to ensure parasite destruction:Salmon, smoked salmon."
- Critical: The tags for the clams and mussels were discarded after the bags were transfered to a new container.
- Critical: The quaternary ammonium compound-based sanitizing solution was observed to be at a concentration less than what is required for effective sanitization of food-contact surfaces of equipment and utensils.
- Critical: Smoked salmon, cooked chicken, foie gras, raw trout, cooked cauliflower, garlic in oil and cooked potatoes were observed being held at unsafe temperatures.
- Critical: Poached pears, cooked beets and potato gratin were not observed to be date-marked and were not used within 24 hours.
- Critical: "The following raw and/or undercooked foods are provided on the menu, menu board, table tent or brochure without a reminder statement: smoked salmon."