I want to take a moment to explain the New York City restaurant health grade system. There are three official grades: A, B, and C. In addition, there is a “grade pending” option. You will see these signs display at the entrance, so you should take notes of it. A is good. C is bad. (Not a rule, but I find that the lower the grade, the more likely that the sign would be placed in less visible location, e.g. way below eye level.)
The letter grade is based on a point system. The less point the better. The higher point the worse. Restaurant “earn” points by having violations, ranging from poor food handling to evidence of vermin. “grade pending” is when a restaurant is contesting a grade. This may goes without saying – there is no “grade pending” option for any restaurant that received an “A” grading. A “C” grading means the restaurant has to make improvement or face being shut down by the Health Department.
While others may be stricter, I draw the line at C. I would not dine at any grade “C” restaurants. Some wouldn’t dine at any “B” restaurants either, but I am more relaxed on this rule. What doesn’t kill you will only make you stronger. (The only exception is that I am not likely to dine at a grade “B” sushi restaurant. I hold raw food to a higher standard.)
More information about the grading system can be found here: http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/html/services/restaurant-inspection.shtml.
You can find out the grade of restaurants at the above link. Alternately, I highly recommend downloading the app: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/abceats/id502867547