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Vegetarian Eatery Zen Palate Shut Down Again After Health Violations

By Mathew Katz | July 1, 2013 10:27am
  Health Department officials last closed the spot in April.
Zen Palate Shut Down
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HELL'S KITCHEN — For the second time in just over two months, Health Department inspectors shut down the popular vegetarian Asian restaurant Zen Palate.

The spot at 663 Ninth Ave. was temporarily closed in April after officials found vermin, unprotected food and food that was allowed to get cold before being served to customers.

Last week, inspectors gave the restaurant 57 violation points, a better score than in April, when Zen Palate received 73 points.

But the latest inspection, conducted on June 26, found many of the same problems: evidence of mice and food that was allowed to get cold and then reheated. The inspection also found improperly installed plumbing and sanitized equipment that was "improperly used or stored," the Health Department said.

Staff at the restaurant did not immediately respond to phone calls requesting comment.

Zen Palate promises "the highest standards of social responsibility" and "delicious, vibrant, freshly prepared and beautifully presented vegetarian dishes," according to its website, but regular customers have complained on Yelp about a dirty kitchen and food being reheated in a microwave "in the worst way possible," then served.

The restaurant has two other locations that were still open on Monday: a Union Square spot, which received a B rating from the Health Department after a February inspection, and a Murray Hill location, which was given a C after a December inspection.