This is actually the nice Dojo's on Mercer; Photo - ReadioNewsday reports that 71 establishments (of a possible 20,000) had been cited for violated the smoking ban - and most for having ashtrays out and not having dinstinct signs saying "No Smoking Allowed" - and some restaurant owners claim the smoking ban has affected business by 20%. Gothamist started to wonder if the smoking ban violations were recorded yet, and we stumbled onto the Department of Health's searchable database of restaurant inspections, which is where we'll be going after checking the Zagat or Chowhound.

While the quick random first searches showed no smoking violations, we did look up Dojo, the college favorite on St. Mark's, or as we like to call it, "The Department of Health Dojo" because it is that nasty. And sure enough, it's there. It passed inspection, but there was this violation: "Live animal present in food storage, preparation or service area. Citation may include and is not limited to cockroaches, flies, mice, rats, cats, and dogs." Which seems to be a typical violation, as that's listed for restaurants like Lupa, Sandobe and scores others. Gothamist wonders how many violations it takes to for a restaurant to fail inspection. And, ultimately, if the food is good and we aren't ill in the next few hours, how much do we really care? Two of our favorite restaurants seem to have many violations:

Pepe Rosso To Go:
1. Cold food held above 41°F (smoked fish above 38°F) except during necessary preparation.
2. Food worker does not use proper utensil to eliminate bare hand contact with food that will not receive adequate additional heat treatment.
3. Evidence of mice or live mice present in facility.
4. Nuisance created or allowed to exist. Facility not free from unsafe, hazardous, offensive or annoying condition.
5. Food contact surface not properly maintained or not washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred

Mermaid Inn:
1. Personal cleanliness inadequate. Clean outer garments, effective hair restraint not worn.
2. Food contact surface not properly maintained or not washed, rinsed and sanitized after each use and following any activity when contamination may have occurred
3. Sanitized equipment or utensil, including in-use food dispensing utensil, improperly used or stored.

Until they get shut down, Gothamist will keep going and eating. Or until we see a cockroach making its way across the table (the way we did at Isabella's on Columbus).

See the worksheet (PDF) Health Department inspectors use.