By Leslie Albrecht
UPPER WEST SIDE — Chef Bill Telepan says a health inspector apologized as he gave the highly acclaimed restaurant a poor health rating earlier this week.
Telepan, on West 69th Street and Columbus Avenue, racked up 33 violation points during an April 18 health inspection, according to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene website.
The well-reviewed restaurant, known for its devotion to local ingredients, serves entrees such as a $17.50 "fallen polenta souffle" with white corn hominy, wild mushrooms, shell beans and cornbread brown butter.
Telepan's rating hasn't been finalized yet, but 33 points is the equivalent of a "C" grade, the worst a restaurant can receive.
The restaurant was cited for "evidence of mice," not protecting food from a "potential source of contamination," and not properly washing surfaces that come in contact with food, among other violations.
But chef and owner Bill Telepan says inspectors based the violations on a part of the building that's not connected to the restaurant. Telepan stretches across several rooms in two side-by-side townhouses.
"It was another part of the building, but the inspector said he felt compelled to note it," Telepan told DNAinfo. "The inspector told me 'you're doing a really great job here' and he kept apologizing. The guy was just trying to do his job."
Telepan said he expects the restaurant to fare much better on follow-up inspections, and he believes he'll end up earning an "A" grade.
Telepan said he met with building managers and contractors Wednesday to remedy the health violations.
Restaurant owners have criticized the city's new health rating system as unfair, complaining that inspectors make sweeping judgments based on a one-time visit.
"They're making it very difficult to run a simple little mom and pop operation in New York," Telepan said.
Restaurants are now required to post health grades, and inspection reports can be viewed on the DOHMH website.