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Chinese Restaurant Closed After Inspectors Find Rats, Mice and Roaches

By Mathew Katz | February 13, 2014 12:33pm
 Pork and leeks from Szechuan Gourmet, which was shut down by the Health Department on Feb. 7, 2014.
Pork and leeks from Szechuan Gourmet, which was shut down by the Health Department on Feb. 7, 2014.
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MIDTOWN — Popular Midtown lunch spot Szechuan Gourmet was shut down by Health Department inspectors for the second time last week after they found evidence of rats, mice and roaches in the restaurant's kitchen.

The spot at 242 W. 56th St. remains shuttered after Feb. 7 inspection, where it racked up 66 violation points for the vermin as well as contaminated food, dirty cloths and inadequate personal cleanliness among kitchen staff, records show.

Inspectors also cited the eatery for having a dirty bathroom without any toilet paper or garbage can.

Last Friday's inspection marked the second time that Health Department officials shut down the restaurant. In January 2012, inspectors closed it after they found dirty eggs and mice its kitchen, records show.

Since then, Szechuan Gourmet has been cited for a host of violations in its regular inspections. On Dec. 23, the restaurant received 67 violation points after inspectors found a range of food kept at unsafe temperatures, without refrigeration, records show.

Staff at the restaurant did not respond to a request for comment.

The popular spot has hundreds of reviews and three-and-a-half stars on Yelp, but critics were mixed on the food's quality.

"General Tso's Chicken? More like General Jello," wrote Yelper Sarah R. "The sauce was so full of cornstarch, that as the dish began to cool the sauce become more and more gelatinous: 15 minutes into the meal I could actually pick up chunks of sauce with my chopsticks. Barf. Bill Cosby would not approve."

The restaurant, which remained closed on Thursday according to the Health Department, does have some diehard fans, however.

"Hands down the best Chinese food in Midtown West," wrote Yelper Alesandro R. "Delivery is prompt. Prices are fair (if relatively expensive to most Chinese places), but the food is quite delicious."