Monday, March 22, 2010

Brent's Deli

Los Angeles is blessed with many Jewish style delis and each has its own partisans. Nate & Als, Juniors, Canters, Factors, and Langers in particular all have their supporters. Brent's in the West San Fernando Valley neighborhood of Northridge has long been one of the top delis in the greater LA area. They opened a second successful outpost in Westlake Village in the far west Valley in 2006.

Brent's has been open for 40+ years, an eternity in restaurant in years in Los Angeles. Restaurant years are like dog years - if you make it to 10 years in this town that is a big deal. 40+ years is a rarity, a Methuselah in a land of babies (although many of the surviving Jewish style delis in Los Angeles have also been around for decades).

It is located in a bland strip mall in Northridge, next door to a dive bar called the Stovepiper Lounge. Driving down Parthenia Street it is easy to overlook the Brent's sign. They have two green and white striped umbrellas outside the entrance. Business was booming on the recent Sunday I visited. The waiting area was crowded with patrons waiting for their taste of corned beef, pastrami, matzoh ball soup or bagels and lox.

I opted for my traditional Jewish deli favorite, a hot corned beef on rye. It came with a side and I opted for apple sauce in lieu of cole slaw. Some steak fries were also on my order. Seating is in comfortable booths and service was fast and efficient. A menu was brought to the table immediately upon being seated and my order was taken within a few minutes. While I was waiting for my sandwich the waitress brought over some sliced pickles. The pickles were good but not as good as those at Nate & Al's in Beverly Hills. They were cut more thinly - into quarters rather than halves, and were also all of one type.

The sandwich arrived and it was worth waiting for. The corned beef was delicious and generously portioned in the sandwich. I briefly considered eating only half and saving the other half for dinner. That thought did not last long for soon I found myself digging into the second half of the sandwich. The meat was thinly sliced and there was not too much fat, but enough to give it flavor. The rye bread was a little too soft but that was not a fatal flaw. The steak fries (additional charge) were great - soft inside but not mushy. The Heinz's ketchup was sweeter than it usually is. I'm not sure as to why that was, but I am not a fan of too sweet ketchup so stuck to salt as my condiment of choice for the side of fries.

The meal was approximately $20 and a fair value. When in the Valley and the deli itch strikes, scratch it at Brent's. The shlep is worth it.

Brent's Deli is located at 19565 Parthenia Street between Tampa and Corbin Avenues. Phone: (818) 886-5679. Website:

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