KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — A Japanese steakhouse in Knoxville earned the lowest grade in this Food for Thought report. There were nearly a dozen health violations checked off in the health inspector’s report.

The grade is 79 at Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. It’s in West Knoxville at 118 Major Reynolds Place. That 79 is a passing score as any grade below 70 is considered failing.

Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse Sushi Bar, 118 Major Reynolds Place, Knoxville — Grade: 79, Follow-up Grade: 94

To begin with, the inspector reported watching a kitchen worker putting dirty dishes in the dishwasher and then started unloading clean dishes without washing his hands in between. Rice that was held in a cooling container overnight was too warm at 54 degrees — 41 and below is the proper cool temperature to prevent bacterial growth. This caused 15 tubs of rice to have to be thrown out.

Multiple containers of rice, carrots and sauces had no date marks on them. To assure freshness, the date of first use is required on all ready-to-eat food. It must be discarded after seven days.

Employee drinks were found stored over top of food products. In restaurants, to prevent any surprises, drinks are supposed to be kept far away from the food that customers are about to be served.

When the inspector checked the cleanliness of a food slicer, he reported finding that it was dirty and had food debris on it. When he looked inside the ice machine, the inspector reports finding mold.

The inspector has returned to Wasabi Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar. All of the original critical violations were corrected. The new grade is 94.

A few weeks ago, Chez Guevara’s Restaurant in Knoxville on Kingston Pike, scored a 70. It’s been reinspected and the new grade there is 89.

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