HELL'S KITCHEN — The Health Department shut down a neighborhood sushi restaurant after inspectors found that the raw fish was allowed to get dangerously warm before being served.
The department shut down Ajisai Japanese Restaurant at 615 Ninth Ave. after an inspection last Thursday issued 57 violation points, according to a report of the inspection.
In addition to warm sushi, inspectors also found that food was not protected from contamination and surfaces used for food preparation were not properly washed. Inspectors also found mice in the restaurant, records show.
This is not the first time inspectors closed the restaurant. In August 2012, they found that cold food was kept at dangerously warm temperatures and shut the sushi joint down as well, records show.
And in October 2011, inspectors found a litany of similar violations, including evidence of rats in the restaurant and shellfish from a non-approved source.
Ajisai has another location on Lexington Avenue that opened in 2013 and has a better track record, with fewer violations, according to the Health Department.
The restaurant offers sushi specials including the Lady Gaga ($16), made with shrimp tempura, eel and avocado, topped with spicy tuna, and the Spicy Mama ($14), made with spicy tuna, spicy yellowtail, spicy salmon and asparagus.
Staff at Ajisai did not respond to a request for comment. The restaurant remained closed at lunchtime on Monday, with a sign in the window claiming it was shut due to "interior decoration."