Cronuts are back, but which big-name New York restaurants will the Department of Health target next?
The DOH is no longer just going after sketchy, small-time eateries—now big-name spots like Dominique Ansel and Per Se are in their sights, too
Tue Apr 8 2014
Photograph: Jessica Lin
Anyone craving a Cronut this past weekend will have been sorely disappointed, as the now-legendary bakery was briefly shut down for a serious spring clean. It's good to know that even beloved, super-popular joints are still held to the same standards of their less-frequented neighbors, but we're already starting to wonder who'll be next on the DOH's hit list. Here are three of the more notable shutdowns of the past few months:
Dominique Ansel Bakery
What went down: After Gothamist published a customer's video of a mouse scurrying across the bakery's kitchen, the DOH was swift to shutter the temple of Cronuts on April 4, claiming a "severe mouse infestation."
Chef reaction: "As a small one-shop bakery, we often feel like we're being looked at under a tremendous microscope.… We of course believe that we run a clean and good operation, but see that we were targeted and rise to the occasion to be even better," the Ansel team said in an official statement.
What's up now: And rise they did. After acing a reinspection on April 7, Ansel & Co. reopened this morning with a special-edition Rocky-inspired Cronut: black passion-fruit-caramelia-chocolate, topped with a gold star.
Mission Chinese Food
What went down: Danny Bowien's buzzy Lower East Side joint was shut down in October 2013 after failing a DOH inspection—mostly because of rodent sightings, too. After reopening briefly, it was shuttered again in November and has remained closed since.
Chef reaction: Bowien told Eater, "We had no one to point the finger at but ourselves," and would be giving the restaurant a serious revamp.
What's up now: Though there's no word yet on whether we'll be able to feast on kung pao pastrami anytime soon, we can at least face our sorrows with the excellent burritos at Bowien's nearby Mission Cantina.
What went down: Thomas Keller's Michelin-starred restaurant received a pending grade in March after having 42 violation points: enough for a C grade. The report included infractions like having hot food held below 140 degrees and a chef drinking coffee directly over the food-preparation area.
Chef reaction: Keller proudly vouched for his team, stating that he "continue[s] to stand by our chefs, our cooking techniques and our methodologies, which have been implemented in our kitchens for the past 20 years."
What's up now: A judge at a New York City hearing on April 3 overturned 25 of the 42 demerits. While Per Se's current letter grade is still pending, the beloved restaurant is open for business and busy as usual.
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Editor: Marley Lynch (@marleyasinbob)