The Receptacle Eats Brent’s Deli
Sunday. Day two of my heavy anticipation of having Brent’s Deli. For years and years I’ve lived near and loved the fine dinings of this local family eatery. Family opened and owned since 1967, the Sisken (sp?- Seskin) family has been providing deli goodness to the Northwest San Fernando Valley, Jew and Gentile alike, with a large array of deli classics. Dishes such as bacon and eggs, pancakes, roast beef, knockwurst, creamed white fish and a whole assortment of whacky dried kosher fish, along with burgers, salads, soups and desserts alike.
If you’ve ever ventured to the west valley for any length of time, you would easily recognize the white pickups with converted refrigerator trailers and green writing, signifying some lucky office or family gathered for a weekend briss is enjoying what Brent cranks out. For the record, Brent is the son and successor to the family fortune that is still run by and maintained by Brent’s dad Ron, a fixture at the restaurant for years who still greets you kindly and feeds you heartily.
Our jaunt was not without trepidation; I knew it was Sunday afternoon. This is the peak eating time for many a hunched-over old lady that somehow convinced her grandson to come out and take her to breakfast, even if she had to pay for it. This is the standard. Really standard if you watch them all arrive outside. There are a ton of families eating there on any given day, but Sundays are the worst (also graduation times). The front entryway is tiny and cramped at best, with all the people packed in not only to try and get a seat but to purchase cold cuts, and meats or just take out from the counter immediately inside the front door. On this day there were about 30 people standing outside in limited shade waiting for their name to be called. We put in our name a bit after noon, then the highly significant other and I decided, since it was afternoon that we should go next door to the Stovepiper bar to enjoy a libation. I mean, it was after noon, why not? The Stovepiper will serve Brent’s sandwiches along with any booze you can think of while you avoid the crowds of families to sit in this dimly lit but stylishly appointed throwback bar. You can sit and enjoy a couple ball games, some preseason football and judging by the Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker lookalikes working and hanging at the bar, maybe some Orange County punk rock. I had a frosty Newcastle and the Highly Significant had herself a damn fine Bloody Mary. (I couldn’t sample myself due to my aversion to Tomato Juice and all things remotely similar to Clamato). After about 40 minutes and one drink we wandered back into the brightness for about a 3 minute break when our name was called. It is always worth the wait. We entered, then wove our way through the crowds to our booth. From just about any booth you can stare at pictures of the Brent’s family through the years, with all the grandkids, the weddings, Halloweens, major earthquakes and just about every waitress or busboy that worked there. Many of them still working there. Seriously, the busboys are treated really well here.
With the standard introductory dish of pickles, we made our orders. One french toast sandwich (not a true sandwich). This is a plate of two slices of thick french toast, and another plate of 2 eggs, and either breakfast sausage (not your Jimmy Dean sausage) or thick cut bacon. This will fill you up, guaranteed. There was also an order for the Matzo Ball soup. It’s a standard made with chicken stock, some carrots, and noodles. It’s a jewish chicken noodle, cracker soup. Tasty when you’re sick or it’s cold out. Also an order of lox on a bagel, standard fare. Next came THE pastrami sandwich on rye. This was consumed by me, forgoing my usual pancake sandwich or beef brisket sammy. The pastrami was moist, warm, and peppery. Delicious isn’t a good word. It was fuckingtastic. Along with my Brent’s Deli (sic-Beaver brand deli) Mustard, it’s really one of the best pastrami sammy’s in town. They also have turkey pastrami thats pretty damn good but not reviewed this day. The Highly Significant other got herself a salad (standard) and some curly fries which have always been good. As well as their steak fries, and country potatoes or hash browns, any one of them and you’ll know Brent’s has perfected the deli potatoes in fried form.
(Time out here. I counted pickles, one french toast sandwich with two eggs and sausage, matzo ball soup, a massive pastrami sandwich, lox on a bagel, the salad and the fries. Who ate what? Who ate what!? -ed)
I have to say, though my local neighborhood bias comes out, that this is hands down the best deli in the city. Don’t even come at me with Jerry’s, that shit is nasty. Juniors, pssssssssssht. Canters is like Tommy’s at 3 am. (Foul! You dare bash the deli adjacent to one of the dingiest/greatest watering holes in this fair city!? -ed) Solley’s is aight, but it ain’t no Brent’s. Mel’s….well I just like Mel’s but the food isn’t why you go there. Name a deli, and I’ll shoot it down until you prove me wrong. Seriously bring it and I’ll make you walk a fiery plank of doom into some unknown sewer hole. Bring your own plank though. Now there are mumblings that the long awaited addition to the family (a Westlake Village location) has already opened. But I have not confirmed this. Brents isn’t in the most convenient locations for most people, and the hours are pretty bad but if you’re in the area at breakfast lunchtime, this is where you want to do it while talking most things Jewish*. **
Brent’s Deli is in Northridge at 19565 Parthenia St, Northridge, CA 91324
Hours: 6am-9pm daily
2799 Townsgate Rd Westlake Village (not yet open)
*- The receptacle is an excommunicated Catholic
** – The receptacle also got his cholesterol results, so there may be a few healthy choice options coming up. But I’ll never give up my receptacle mission: of finding every good taco, burrito, burger and food oddity.