Barney Greengrass’ New Health Rating Might Make You Say ‘Holy Mackerel’

After last month’s failed health inspection, the pressure was on for Barney Greengrass to clean up its act before the Department of Health held its next herring, err hearing.

And lo and behold, the appetizing shop has made the grade! It’s now got an A pasted on the window after an inspection last week that went much better than the one on October 10 that resulted in Barney Greengrass being closed for several days.

The inspector still found roaches in the latest inspection on October 30, and that the restaurant isn’t vermin-proof. But those violations still allowed Barney Greengrass to make the grade.

Thanks to Eileen for the photos and the tip.

FOOD, NEWS | 22 comments | permalink
    1. UWSHebrew says:

      “The inspector still found roaches”. “A” grade? Scary to think what is allowed in the lower grades!

      • Cynyc says:

        You can look at the Board of Health website and see specific violations for each restaurant. An “A” can be pretty scary.

      • NYCgirl says:

        Yes!!! I have been saying the exact same thing ever since I learned how the grades are bestowed…

    2. uwsider says:

      If having roaches and not being vermin-proof still gives you an A, imagine what caused them to close. Personally, I don’t go anywhere lower than an A, given how low the standards are anyways.

      • Billy Amato says:


        Makes you think…
        If DOH let things like this to pass with a “A“, can you imagine all these restaurants that are out there like this one! That’s why I’m a good chef and like cooking at home.

    3. Observer says:

      “The inspector still found roaches… and that the restaurant isn’t vermin-proof…. still allowed Barney Greengrass to make the (A) grade.”

      Hmmm…does something smell FISHY here?

      New menu item: Baksheesh??

    4. Been There says:

      To anyone that has NEVER worked in, owned, or otherwise visited the kitchen or basement of a NYC restaurant: Roaches are a fact of life in any kitchen. There is no way to keep them out and the best you can do is try to manage it. In fact, mice, flies and other creatures are unavoidable and are found in even the best kitchens… especially those with street access. So while it is never good, as long as they are controlled and properly exterminated there is no issue.

      • Tim says:

        Wrong. I managed a restaurant in Spanish Harlem years ago. Door opened right onto the sidewalk, on Park&117th. Initially we had problems with mice. But vigilant efforts to plug-up EVERY point of access (it IS possible) ensured that no mice nor signs of mice were ever seen again. And I made sure the same methods were applied to keep insects away also. It’s a challenge, but very possible to keep a restaurant vermin-free.

    5. Glen says:

      In many parts of the world insects, such as roaches, are viewed as a nutritious source of protein. As long as Barney prepares them correctly I really don’t see the problem.

    6. lcnyc says:

      Smoked Roach Spread: $25.99/lb

    7. B.B. says:

      Those letter grades mean absolutely nothing IMHO.

      Have passed many places that sell or serve food late/over night and observed not one or two, but large numbers of rodents, yet all have an “A” rating.

      You report it to DOH and all they say is “we’ve alerted owner of establishment….”.

    8. Evan Bando says:

      Roaches and not being vermin-proof in a restaurant rated “A” should not surprise anyone. What it should do is motivate you to learn how to prepare your own meals at least five days a week to be sure you are eating clean food with healthy ingredients. At the same time, you will be saving a lot of money that could be better spent on things that have much more value than a mediocre meal (at best) in a loud, uncomfortable environment, roaches or not. Eating out is simply one of the worst deals in town.

    9. Restaurant Owner says:

      If you think the letter grades have anything to do with “health” you are sadly mistaken. Just another way to raise money for the city on the backs of business.
      I guarantee you could close any kitchen if you look hard and long enough. Your own home kitchen wouldn’t pass either.
      Sure the letter grade makes you feel better and the restaurant is now vested in paying the fines to get the reinspected…
      If you like a restaurant, go there and spend money. If you dont, dont. But please dont let the letter grade fool you. You know right away the restaurants that value cleanliness, just check the bathroom…..

      • Cato says:

        — “You know right away the restaurants that value cleanliness, just check the bathroom…”

        Which is why that is one of the first places every inspector looks at.

    10. Upperwestsidewally says:

      99.9% of all US household kitchens would get a failing grade.

      • Evan Bando says:

        Speak for yourself, please.

        • Cato says:

          If you’re not seeing them, it means only that you’re not seeing them — not that they aren’t there.

          You know, sort of like Republicans in New York City.

        • Upperwestsidewally says:

          Do you truly test the chlorine level in your rinse water basin with a litmus strip three, four times a day? Do you have a rinse water basin?

        • Tim says:

          Exactly Evan. I think some people project because of their own habits. My kitchen is beyond spotless and I never have dirty dishes or utensils left out, ever. Some people take pride in a pristine kitchen.

    11. Michael G says:

      Did “herring” make me laugh? Yes. Yes it did.