An Italian institution in Memphis dining showed up on the wrong end of the inspection scores this week.
Coletta's Italian Restaurant's original location at 1063 S. Parkway East rated a 77 in its latest inspection report.
The inspector's report cites a lasagna at a "potentially hazardous" food temperature; "peeling ceiling over food prep area"; and the inspector used the word "dirty" 14 times to describe conditions at Coletta's.
The staff was wrapping up a brisk and busy lunch hour around 1:15 when I called Diane Coletta. She made no excuses about the low inspection score at the restaurant which has been a Memphis Italian standard for 80 years.
"We are improving, OK? Hopefully, we will get our scores back up again," Coletta said over the phone.
We're confident they will. Good luck, Coletta's!
THIS WEEK'S BIG TIP: Executive Chef Brett "Shaggy" Duffee, Equestria, 3165 Forest Hill Irene Rd., Germantown, TN, 901-869-2663, http://www.equestriacuisine.com.
Customer Marty Klauss nominated Chef Shaggy as Restaurant Scorecard's first Chef of the Week because of Shaggy's "fresh" approach to his dishes.
"(He) puts personality in (his) food," says Klauss of Collierville, TN. "(He) grows his own food. (He) imports fresh food. Shaggy is fabulous."
Shaggy's mantra is all-natural ingredients, vegetables and herbs -- and he grows 80 percent of Equestria's inventory right in the garden and greenhouse of the restaurant's farm.
He says Equestria's culture is about community -- how to best serve its customers and environment -- and Shaggy's garden is even available for your kitchen!
"You know, when you're cooking in your kitchen, and you're, like, 'Man, I wish I had some zucchini,' we'll allow anyone to come through our garden and grab a couple of things within reason," says Chef Shaggy.
The wine selection is incredible. The dining atmosphere: elegant. The food: outstanding, from the $6 appetizers to the $35-a-head four-course meal.
WHAT ANDY LIKES: Rock Lobster Tails, Grilled Pork Ventre, Pacific Tuna
For all of this week's Memphis-Shelby County restaurant scores, click here.