Andy's Rest. Scorecard: Chef Alex Grisanti - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Andy Wise

Andy's Rest. Scorecard: Chef Alex Grisanti, plus scores as of 5/31/09

A big bug on a cutting board doesn't do much for my appetite.

Neither does being tossed like a hot potato from one manager to another.

But that's what happened when I called Newby's, 5395 Highland St., near the University of Memphis.  It failed its recent Memphis-Shelby County Health Department inspection with a 61.

The inspector's report cites a "live insect observed crawling on wooden cutting board..."; "...large amount of fruit flies," including a "...fruit fly observed inside ice maker..."; and no hot or cold water running in the women's bathroom sink.

The inspector uses the word "dirty" 15 times.

Monday, I call Newby's and talk to "Will," the manager who signed his name to the inspection report.  He asks me to call another manager, John McDonald, when he opens the restaurant Tuesday.  I call John, then he asks me to call Lauren Wingate when she opens the restaurant Wednesday.

Enough!  Somebody answer the stinkin' health report.

After declining our request to shoot an interview at the restaurant, McDonald said, "We're fixing every critical violation. There's only one critical left to fix -- the women's sink in the bathroom -- and we went to pick up the last piece that was necessary to fix it."

I suggest you toss that cutting board, too.

THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP:  Executive Chef Alex Grisanti, Elfo's, 2285 S. Germantown Road, Germantown, TN, (901) 753-4017,

Chef Alex Grisanti continues four generations of one of the best dining experiences in the Mid-South.  Steaks, seafood and Grisanti family recipes dating back to 1505 in Lucca, Italy, have won his customers over.

"It just tastes REALLY GOOD!" says regular Dee Dee Dunehew of Collierville, TN, about the sea bass.  "They know you by name when you come in the door."

Grisanti is a household name in the Memphis-area restaurant industry (father Ronnie and brother Frank either own or once owned their own restaurants).  Their signature dishes and signature brand of service and big portions have been popular here for 100 years.

"People always complain, 'Hey, Alex!  These portions are too big!'  My family's known for that," says Grisanti.  "I never want you to say you were under-served and overpriced."

WHAT ANDY LIKES:  Elfo's Special (buttered garlic, shrimp and mushrooms with pasta), Toasted Ravioli, Steak Florentine, Miss Mary Salad, hand-picked wine selection from Verona, Italy.

For all of this week's Memphis-Shelby County inspection scores, click here.

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