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Brent's Deli in Westlake Village - Disappointing

liu Oct 13, 2006 03:43 PM

About one month ago I posted that I carried out matzo ball soup from Brent's in Westlake Village and both the service and the soup were extraordinary. At that time I noticed what a pretty space they had created for dining, so I was looking forward to a dine-in return.

Last night, on a Thursday night about 7:30pm, we went for dinner. We opted to sit in the bar (full service menu) to avoid the 15-20 minute wait to get a table in the main restaurant. Initially, we were bombarded left and right with servers to set us up with napkins, drinks, etc. The bus boys are extremely well trained and wonderfully attentive, but right at the beginning the service was almost chaotic because there were too many people taking care of each little thing. The server took our order; I ordered cabbage soup with only a taste of the meat (that means just a piece or two), while my dining companions had a tongue sandwich and a BBQ sandwich. The sandwiches came, but my soup did not; they were almost finished when we had to ask for the soup.

When it finally arrived, it was loaded with meat, and the taste of the soup was a little gamey or old-meat flavored to me. The meat was over-done and flavorless. The soup had spilled over a lot onto the plate below and the whole dish was just too sloppy and meaty for me, knowing that I had requested only a hint of meat. In addition to its off-flavor, it came with no crackers or bagel chips. I think the Brent's in Northridge has better cabbage soup and it is served with bagel chips.

At this point service had disappeared. It took us a few minutes to get a check, and then we noticed we had a double charge for a drink we did not order. Although the server agreed that the check was incorrect, it took a while for her to correct it.

Overall, I think they have some work to do and I think the Northridge location is far better.

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  1. w
    Wes RE: liu Oct 13, 2006 06:22 PM

    Service at the counter at the Northridge location is non-existant as well.

    I always wait for a table. Even with a 10-15 minute wait I still come out ahead and without the agrevation.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Wes
      liu RE: Wes Oct 13, 2006 07:00 PM

      Thanks for responding, Wes. It occurred to me that perhaps our disappointments were related to the fact that we sat in the bar area to have dinner. I will take your advice and give them another chance at the tables. However, I still did not care for the taste of their cabbage soup, and I love it in Northridge.

    2. l
      LesThePress RE: liu Oct 13, 2006 08:00 PM

      That's really funny. We were very tired and hungry and decided to eat out rather than cook, so we went to Brent's last night too.

      They said a 20 - 25 minute wait, but I found a table in the bar area so we sat there.

      Service was exactly as you said, waitress was almost non-exisitent. I watched as a couple of the 2 tops filled up, and we waited and waited for the waitress. This is the 1st (of several visits) that we had poor service.

      We FINALLY ordered, then we sat, and sat, the people at the 2 tops were eating, some people who sat at the bar after the other people were eating, but us, nothing.

      Finally my soup came, about 5 minutes after the waitress said it was on the way. (We saw a buss boy walking around aimlessly with a bowl of soup which he finally just put down on the counter and walked away). Then the waitress saw him and asked where our soup was, and the light went on and he said he didn't now where it went.

      A while passes and my half sanwich arrives, but not my wife's soup. When I ordered I asked for a side of thousand island dressing, which didn't come with the food. When the buss boy brought my sandwich I asked him for it. Nothing. When the buss boy (finally) brought my wife's soup, I asked for it. Nothing. The waitress eventually came by and asked how we were doing and I said I didn't get my 1000 island dressing (my whole sandwich was sitting these untouched). She walked away, nothing. I finally stopped another buss boy, who did bring it to me in a few minutes.

      We arrived at 6:30 and didn't leave until 7:30 or so. This was not going out for a quick bite. I gave the buss boy that brought us the 1000 island a few dollars and the waitress a couple of dollars.

      The funny part is that while we were still waiting for our waitress, they called our name as I didn't cancel the reservation. It wasn't anywhere near 20-25 minutes, more like 10. If we had waited for a table I'm sure we've have been much better off.

      All in all, I really like Brents. We've sat in the bar twice and never had any problem, however, never again. Maybe it was an off night, but from what I saw the waitress was the entire problem.

      5 Replies
      1. re: LesThePress
        liu RE: LesThePress Oct 13, 2006 08:15 PM

        Ohhhh, I am so sorry we didn't say "hello" to you! I am sure you were sitting right next to us! Actually, we probably arrived as you were finishing, so just to let you know, service did not improve after you left! It's a little uncanny, but we had very similar experiences!

        I, too, like Brent's and think it is a nice addition to our community, but next time we will sit in the real seats!

        1. re: liu
          l
          LesThePress RE: liu Oct 13, 2006 08:53 PM

          Yes, and as I was thinking about this we were actually there prior to 6:30!

          We sat in the corner under one of the TV's, where there are just two booths.

          I'll look for you next time!! LOL!

          1. re: LesThePress
            liu RE: LesThePress Oct 13, 2006 08:55 PM

            I'll be the one NOT ordering the cabbage soup! What will you order next time?

            1. re: liu
              l
              LesThePress RE: liu Oct 13, 2006 09:22 PM

              My usual is the 1/2 sandwich with soup/salad. Normally I like the black pastrami. I also order fries well done with a side of 1000.

              Last night I had 1/2 brisket sandwich. It was just okay but I wanted to try something else besides the pastrami.
              Soup was good, Mrs. had beef barley soup which she liked but the portion was enourmous. My Matzoh Ball soup was also very good, not overly salted like most places. Half of her and my soup are in the refig at home.

              I will keep trying different sandwiches, probably corned beef next time, but I'll always be most fond of the black pastrami. Sunday I think we'll go and I'll have pastrami and eggs, YUMMMM.

              Even with the poor service last night Brent's is an oasis in an otherwise P-poor deli area and I'll be back often.

              1. re: LesThePress
                liu RE: LesThePress Oct 13, 2006 09:29 PM

                Speaking of their sandwiches...my dining companions "fought" over the tongue sandwich last night, so I guess it was pretty good!

      2. m
        marlaser RE: liu Oct 20, 2006 03:53 PM

        My husband and I ate at Brent's - Westlake Village about 3 weeks ago and had a completely different experience. We came early - about 4:45 PM and were seated immediately. We ordered a salad and split a pastrami sandwich on rye. Our waitress was a bit slow, but we were in no hurry. She was apologetic. The food was wonderful - probably the best pastrami sandwich we have had in California. We are ex-New Yorkers and know what deli should be like. The rye bread was warm and wonderful and the pastrami was lean. We are excited to have Brents in our community. It was well worth waiting for.

        1. m
          malibumike RE: liu Oct 20, 2006 08:25 PM

          My wife and I just got back from a lunch at Brent's. We got there at 1145am and had about a 15 min wait. Parking is hard there, for lunch try to get there about 11am. She had the Black Pastrami and I had the triple decker pastrami with corned beef, swiss cheese and tomato, both were very good and generous size, cole slaw also excellent, just get there early.

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