St. Pete Beach, Florida - Known for its fresh sushi, Basil Leaf Thai is a popular restaurant with tourists on St. Pete Beach.
But what visitors might not know is that the restaurant was temporarily closed down by the state after an inspector found 15 critical violations on the restaurant's December 3rd inspection.
Restaurant Inspection Reports: Look up your restaurant here
The problems included temperature violations on the chicken, pork, shrimp and beef, squid sitting out thawing improperly, food stored on the floor, a dirty microwave, slime in the ice machine and an employee not washing their hands after taking out the trash. The inspector also documented rodent droppings behind equipment on the cook's line.
We stopped in to find out what was going on inside this Thai kitchen. After a brief wait, management decided to allow our camera into the kitchen.
We first checked for the basics, things like soap at the employee hand sink. There we found no soap in the dispenser, but a full soap bottle to the left of the sink ready for use.
We also found a clean microwave. But then we spotted a problem.
"So these don't feel like they're refrigerated," we told the manager picking up an egg sitting along the cook's line. "This is one of the things the inspector would like to see refrigerated. This would probably be a temperature violation because this feels room temperature to me."
Next we headed out back to the walk-in cooler.
Most items appeared to be covered in the cooler. The only problem: a bag of carrots on the floor, something considered a violation by the state.
But the one thing we were looking for was rodent droppings. The state found 13 on their December inspection and additional droppings on previous inspections in January and July.
Along with all those droppings, the state inspector actually found a rodent running around by the walk in cooler. On our visit we found no additional rodents.
The cleaned up kitchen is good news for unsuspecting customers. Employees assure us their kitchen is sanitary and safe.
"I just want to tell the customer, everyone to come to eat in my restaurant," said employee Yoko Anongthep. "Everything is clean and fresh and all the food is good taste. That's very good!"
Take a look at Basil Leaf Thai's full inspection history here.
Beau Zimmer, 10 News