MANHATTAN — Mercat, the NoHo tapas lauded by critics for its innovative Spanish dishes, has been shut down after a recent inspection by the city Health Department revealed numerous violations.
DOH inspectors closed the restaurant, at 45 Bond St., Thursday after finding evidence of mice and insufficient protection of food from contamination, according to city records.
The restaurant, which specializes in Catalan dishes, received 57 violation points for infractions including conditions conducive to vermin and unsanitary plumbing and wiping cloths.
Mercat owner Jaime Reixach said the restaurant is planning to reopen the week of Mon., Feb. 20 but declined to elaborate.
The Health Department issued the restaurant a warning on Jan. 3 for 43 violation points for evidence of mice and unsanitary equipment or utensils, according to city records.
Mercat, which The New Yorker noted for its sweetbreads and "Euro-frat-party atmosphere", also received 45 points in a Dec. 13 inspection, when inspectors cited evidence of mice and inadequate "personal cleanliness."
Under the grading system the city introduced in July 2010, the Health Department immediately closes restaurants and bars with "conditions that may be hazardous to public health," according to its website. An establishment that receives 28 or more violation points gets a "C" grade.
In response to complaints about the fairness and consistency of the letter grading system, the City Council in January launched an online survey of restaurant owners.
The city's restaurateurs' trade association wants the inspections to be less punitive and instead emphasize food safety education, Andrew Rigie, the association's executive vice president, told The New York Times in January.