When Legend, a popular Chinese restaurant that started in Chelsea, opened its first location on the Upper West Side last year, we boldly declared that it was part of the Second Great Age of Upper West Side Chinese Food. The neighborhood used to be known for strong Chinese food, but had lost that reputation in recent years. We expected Legend, whose spicy Sichuan food in Chelsea was described by the Times as “often unbelievably good,” to help change that.

But Legend has hit a few big hiccups at its new locations on 109th street and 72nd street, both of which have opened in the past nine months. Each restaurant has now been shuttered by the health department, and both racked up quite a few violation points on those inspections. In May, the Legend on 72nd was closed down after accumulating 104 violation points. And this week, the Legend Upper West on 109th between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue was shuttered after health inspectors cited it for 66 violation points — the red flags start going up when a restaurant scores higher than 28 points. Just three weeks earlier, the restaurant had racked up 67 points.

These were the violations found in its most recent inspection (most serious in red):

1) Hot food item not held at or above 140º F.
2) Cold food item held above 41º F (smoked fish and reduced oxygen packaged foods above 38 ºF) except during necessary preparation.
3) Raw, cooked or prepared food is adulterated, contaminated, cross-contaminated, or not discarded in accordance with HACCP plan.
4) Evidence of rats or live rats present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
5) Live roaches present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas.
6) Filth flies or food/refuse/sewage-associated (FRSA) flies present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas. Filth flies include house flies, little house flies, blow flies, bottle flies and flesh flies. Food/refuse/sewage-associated flies include fruit flies, drain flies and Phorid flies.
7) Food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service.
8) Facility not vermin proof. Harborage or conditions conducive to attracting vermin to the premises and/or allowing vermin to exist.

If this hasn’t ruined your appetite, check out our taste test at Legend.

FOOD, NEWS | 9 comments | permalink
    1. Rat A. Tooey says:

      Re: “4) Evidence of rats or live rats present in facility’s food and/or non-food areas”

      Mais bien sur (but of course), me and my friends we used ta eat there frequently, and we certainly ARE live (and let’s keep it that way!)

      But I did hate them nasty roaches munching on stacks of old menus. Old menus! Who in his right mind would eat that…even with duck sauce!

      So Legend is gone, China Fun is gone, … err…how far is it to Ollies over on Riverside Boulevard?

      • jerry says:

        Well, don’t get your hopes up – or, better yet – c’mon down to Ollie’s on 89th and Broadway and enjoy the wonderful smell of over heated and overused cooking oil!

    2. Antonionio says:

      Went to Legends – – the one on 109th – – ONCE. Based on what you reported, we were expecting something fantastic. What we got was blah. Once was too many times.

      I won’t miss it at all if it closes for good. But PLEASE BRING BACK RACK AND SOUL in its place.

    3. N says:

      So where can you get decent Chinese on the UWS these days?

      • Cato says:

        You can’t!

        But you *can* get designer rice-krispie treats, to say nothing of designer frozen yogurt without leaving your own block.

        Wine bars, designer pasta, even over-priced under-quality mini-burgers (*with* fake Mickie D fries!).

        So stop complaining and get with the gentrification program. The days of decent Chinese food, which once defined this wonderful neighborhood, are over. Long live chi-chi food!

    4. Jeff says:

      Goodness, I’m by no means zero tolerance when it comes to inspection violations, but at some point you have to read the writing on the wall and accept that every Legend location is completely unhygienic and disgusting.

      • Cato says:

        Well, given that every location is inspected separately and rated separately, I’m not sure how you can jump to that conclusion.

        But, go ahead, generalize away. Why not?

        • Jeff says:

          Not jumping to conclusions. I have reviewed the inspection reports for every Legend location. Two of the three have been shut down recently for egregious violations, and the third, in Chelsea, just recently managed to get its C rating bumped up to a B.

    5. Liz says:

      Didn’t the one on 72nd St take over the place that used to be Penang. Penang had great food. It never really felt the same though after they moved from Columbus to 72nd St.

      Roaches — ugh!! They say most of the world eat bugs as a source of protein. However, I draw the line at grasshoppers (Mexican style of course).

      Amazing isn’t it — roaches seem to be the only critters that can’t be evicted even by those tough-assed NYC landlords. Big Nick’s gets the boot and roach haven — Legend (now you know that it’s legend is) stays.