2006_01_restvio.jpgThe Department of Health has relaunched its restaurant inspection look-up website, so it'll be easier for New Yorkers to know how clean or unclean restaurants they frequent are...or maybe confirm why there are some restaurants you avoid. Gothamist gave it a test run last night and we have to say it is must easier to navigate than the old site: Now you can search by category, borough, violations, name, zip code. There are quite a few restaurnts that have violations, but many seem to fail inspections because their permits might not be valid - not great, but not as bad as, say, a mouse found in the butter. You can have hours and hours of fun looking up restaurants yourself, but we looked up the establishment with the most violations - the bar, Time Out, on the Upper West Side. For perspective, a restaurant fails if they have 27 points; Time Out had 137 points. Some of the highlights:

- Evidence of flying insects or live flying insects present in facility food and/or non-food areas
- No facility available to wash, rinse, and sanitize untensils
- Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service

According to the records, Time Out closed, but Gothamist thought we saw it open in the past few months, so we assume they tried to bring themselves up to code. The NY Times says about 4,000 restaurants fail each year, with only 500 closing (there are 24,000 restaurants in city overall, with 100 inspectors).

A previous post about restaurant inspections with some great comments. The NYC Department of Health's Restaurant Inspection Information site.