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Posh NYC restaurant roasted by health inspectors

By Rande Iaboni
updated 1:49 PM EST, Thu March 6, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Per Se, one of New York's most exclusive restaurants, gets a "C" grade
  • Violations included no hand-washing facility or soap in food prep area
  • Per Se will have a chance to argue the inspection at a hearing

(CNN) -- One of New York City's most exclusive restaurants is in a real pickle after being served a "C" grade by the New York City Department of Health.

The restaurant, Per Se, was slammed by health inspectors after racking up 42 violation points during its inspection on February 19, city health department records showed.

Per Se, one of only seven in New York City to earn three Michelin stars, previously had an "A" rating before the inspection.

Violations listed in the latest health inspection included no hand-washing facility or soap in the food-prep area, hot and cold items held in improper temperatures, and eating or drinking in the food-prep area and tobacco use, all of which qualify as "critical" violations, according to the records.

In its last inspection in June 2013, Per Se had only one violation worth 7 points, but previous inspections in 2013 and 2011 also fell into the 40-point range.

Inspectors give an "A" for 0 to 13 points, "B" for 14 to 27 points and "C" for 28 or more, according to the health department's website.

In a statement, Per Se's chef, Thomas Keller, said: "We look forward to the opportunity to address the allegations with the Department of Health in the upcoming Oath Tribunal. At that time our final grade will be determined. As with all of our restaurants, we continue to maintain the highest standards at Per Se."

The restaurant will have a chance to argue the inspection at a hearing but must post a sign that reads "Grade Pending" until then.

Keller oversaw the cuisine Sunday night at the Vanity Fair Oscar party, where guests enjoyed chicken pot pie and truffle lasagna, according to a menu that Keller tweeted.

Per Se is considered the East Coast interpretation of Keller's French Laundry restaurant in Northern California.

For those interested in putting their money where their mouth is, the eatery offers a nine-course tasting menu for $310 per person.

Opinion: The dirty truth behind New York's restaurant grading system

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