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Brent's Deli - Sad to say -Never Again.

I've posted re: my bad experiences at Brent's Deli Northridge, but decided to try again yesterday morning for my birthday breakfast.

We requested a booth and were told that the wait would be 20 minutes, which was reasonable. The wait was actually 10 minutes, when we were seated in a large booth against the wall.

Our drink order was taken promptly by the busboy, orange juice, coffee and a coca cola. We received our drinks very quickly.

After a few minutes the waitress took our order. She wrote everything down. We explained there would be a special order. My husband ordered the lox platter as usual, with a special request that there be no cole slaw on the plate, or near the plate. He hates mayonnaise and hates cole slaw. The waitress asked if he wanted anything else, and offered extra tomato, which he accepted. I ordered the corned beef hash and eggs.

So far so good. Until our food arrived.

Our original server had vanished, our food was brought by another server, who failed to tell us she was our new server, or that the other woman had gone on break. There was a huge bowl of cole slaw on his platter of lox, with the mayonnaise-y sauce dripping all over the lox and onions. This is not what we ordered and just the situation we wanted to avoid. Since it was my b'day, hubby asked for napkins and started mopping up the cole slaw sauce off of the lox and onions.

My hash was burnt to a crisp - literally so black that a burnt crust had formed on the entire bottom of the hash. It wasn't a situation where I could have eaten around the burnt part, the entire portion was black. It was inedible.

Next, my rye toast arrived, which was fine. The bagels for the lox platter arrived, but with only one bagel, not the usual two, with no butter. Then we noticed there was no cream cheese on the lox platter. How can that happen in a deli?

We tried to flag down our server, when we asked the server that brought our food for our original server, we were told in a brusque voice that she was on a break. This was funny since she was standing right across from us in the dining room.

At this point, we tried to explain the problem, the servers attitude and body language was indifference, as in "yeah, so?" - it was only at the end when we were asked in a brusque voice with a bad attitude what we wanted to solve the problem.

We then realized the futility of the situation, and just got up and left.

This is not the first time we've had the problem with the cole slaw - but had decided to try again - how difficult is it to leave the slaw off the plate? And if the order was placed correctly, why was it allowed to go out of the kitchen incorrectly?

The combination of the wrong order, burnt food, lack of caring. lack of attention to detail and bad attitude has left us with a bad taste in our mouths. Sorry Brent's. but we won't be spending our $50.00 for breakfast with you again. With the lack of customers there at 10:00 am on a Sunday, I'd say that others feel the same way.

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  1. As a Brent's fan I am shocked how bad things turn out sometimes over there. Over and over I read complaints and talk to people who have had terrible experiences and I always suggest that you speak to a manager. They care and want to know when things go wrong so that they can make it right.

    1. I like the way they try to rush younout by bringing you the check before you finish chewing. Wht if I want dessert, or coffee?

      1 Reply
      1. re: Diana

        That's just the way it is there, it's just something to get used to. I kinda like it; it gives the place charm. You can always get more. Many times, I have ordered a dessert or coffee after we received the bill and they just take it back and add to it :)

        If you7 get to know the waitresses there, they are really nice women (and guys, too) :)

      2. This is not the Brent's Deli I know and love. But then again it's been several years since I've been. Certainly there was a Peskin around to complain to?

        1. I never understood why people get so huffy when something doesn't go right. I've had stuff made not how I want and always been patient and kind to the serever and always gotten it fixed. It seem that you went in there expecting a bad time and got what you thought you would. NEVER had a bad time at Brent's been going there for years.

          3 Replies
          1. re: huskyla27

            People get huffy when something doesn't go right because it shows that they're not being heard- or that their SIMPLE requests are ignored. And we weren't huffy - simply exasperated over a mistake that has happened to us several times. What is so difficult about NO COLE SLAW? on a $25 lox platter? Do servers have problems reading tickets? That is simple - server 101. We've been going to Brent's for 10 years. We didn't go in there expecting a bad time - on the contrary we wanted to have a great birthday breakfast, just as we'd had so many times in the past. If you have an aversion or heaven forbid an allergy to a food, and express that to the server, then to have the request ignored - that kind of lack of follow through just shows poor customer service. We've always been patient, kind and generous to our servers - even when they've brought our check before our food arrives! We loved Brent's - but they need to know that their service and food quality is going down. Do you really think that pointing out charred burned black food is being huffy? And if I'm paying $25 for a lox platter at breakfast, I'm sorry but I'm going to point it out to the server if my order is not correct. I did send a letter - I'll post with the outcome.

            1. re: OneJayneDoe

              hi: keep it up! i've only been to brent's once, about 5 years ago. it was very good, but we live in the pasadena area and generally do not find ourselves in northridge. that said... my wife and i eat out quite a bit. we use the premise that since we are spending our hard earned money, we should be treated in the way we expect. while we are not unreasonable, we do have high expectations. with such an enormous choice of restaurants available in the greater la area, there is absolutely no reason to pay for mediocrity. unfortunately, there have been favorite places over the years which have changed, usually for the worse. (best example - el cholo's. when they were a one location operation on western they were wonderful. had many, many great meals there. about 15 years ago their quality, service, and even their recipes began changing [they were simplifying to maintain uniformity in their several locations.]. along witht the rest, the service declined. we gave it it's last chance 2-3 years ago. sad, but no longer on the list.)

              so vote with your feet and dollars, and publicize the information. chowhound is a great medium for this. on the other hand, if you get a decent response and things change, let us know as well, it's only fair.

              thank you for standing up.

            2. re: huskyla27

              Agreed. :) Always nice about everything.

            3. Sorry you had such a bad experience there. I'm lucky enough to say that every meal either eaten there or taken out/delivered in my experience has been excellent but I sympathize with you, especially since this was your birthday breakfast.

              You might want to write a note to the owners and let them know what happened. It would be nice to help solve the problem with service and food quality instead of just idly watching Brent's go downhill without even trying to make it right. I have a feeling that the owners care enough about their establishment that they will try and make it up to you. It's worth a try at least.

              1. Have been going to Brent's for years and everything is usually perfect, but I never ask for anything special. I have found that in busy non-gourmet establishments such as theirs, the cooks are just robots, it's almost the only way they can serve not only their customers, but look at the catering trucks (though may be handled separately) they have AND they are servicing the Bar next door also. It's non-stop for their wait staff and for the workers its just a constant and stressful environment. That being said, you still should be given exactly what you ordered in a pleasant and accommodating attitude, but just understand it's not Chinois, you do get exactly what you pay for, good food and too much of it, you're going to have to give some slack (and no tip) to the occassional bad service. SOmetimes it just happens that the same people keep getting hit over the head. I'm curious to see what their response will be. I'm betting a free meal. Hopefully they'll have run out of cole slaw that day.

                1 Reply
                1. re: LuigiOrtega

                  Brent's informed me month ago that they no longer service the bar next door.

                2. I've been to the Westlake Village Brents four times since they opened, and I quite frankly don't understand why everybody thinks its so great.. Is it the massive portions that people like - - like sandwiches that are way too huge to stuff in your mouth and you feel like its a great deal with way too large portions? I had poor food and poor service every time I went. And noisy. Lazy waitresses. I tried their philly steak sandwich and it was awful. I've tried the pastrami reuben and their breakfasts were mediocre. And you walk away feeling used because the mediocre food is not cheap.

                  I would recommend to all Chowhounds to go across the street to Jacks Deli in Westlake - - everything there is better and you still get large portions, reasonable prices, phenomenal Reubens (corned beef or pastrami), excellent everything. Brents - - you've had your day and now you're just a waste of money! I will not go back!

                  1. I've never had particularly bad service at brent's (been there maybe half a dozen times over the ten years I've been in LA) but I have detected a consistently snooty or indifferent service by the people who run the cash register (usually snooty young girls). No matter how congenial my wife and I are, I've never seen them so much as crack a smile.

                    Mr Taster
                    Protect Chowhound
                    Boycott Avatars!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Mr Taster

                      I would "bet the farm" the owners would never give so much as a free cup of coffee to anyone let alone for a bad meal. Mr Taster-I agree. The cashiers are minimum wage kids who can't answer a phone properly either. (speak clearly damn it) I get great service. I am nice to everyone but at the same time I speak up for myself if something is wrong. My brother in law stopped going because he refused to speak up. I feel the Peskins are over their heads with two stores. They lost a lot of experience to the second store. I also think prices on *some items* are way too high. I know about costs etc but charging me $2.00 for an extra bagel on a $25.00 fish platter is nuts. (If I asked 6 slices of rye I would get it free.) Soon all the negative things in peoples minds will come to a head and those customers will leave. Because the food is so good people will continue coming and pay the prices and it will have no impact on business or to the owners.

                      1. re: SIMIHOUND

                        My experience at Brent's in Northridge:

                        1.The rudest, most scary waitress I've ever had: ten seconds after giving us the menu she asked for our order. I said we weren't ready and for the next twenty minutes she saw but ignored me every time I tried to flag her down. When she came back she asked us if we were ready yet. I said we were ready ten minutes ago. A verbal confrontation ensued, somthing along the lines of, "I was ready to take your order ten minutes ago". I said, "No, that was twenty minutes ago". She said, "Do you want me to take your order of not". The people next to us at the counter were frozen in fear and after she left they advised us we didn't want to tangle with her. We told the manager, told him we were going to leave and he inisisted on seating us at a booth we a new waitress. The new waitress was nice but just as I was going over the confrontation with my boyfriend he started kicking me under the table. The old waitress was back and serving out food and listening to how insane I thought she was.
                        The management had failed to inform us that our old waitress was stalking us. She was overly kiss-ass after that. The meal was dramatic, unplesant and the food was bad: dried out chocolate cake, yucky coleslaw, cold bagels, tasteless mash potatoes and gravy. I wanted comfort food and almost came close to having my ass beaten up by the waitress.

                        I will not go there again.

                        1. re: JillPickle

                          I have found that the service at the counter is practically non-existent. When I am dining alone they ask if I would like the counter rather than wait. I politely say no, the service sucks at the counter.

                          No matter how long the wait, NEVER sit at the counter at Brent's

                    2. I have been to Brent's a number of times and always had reasonable service, even at the counter. It's a deli -- coming from NY that is kind of what I expect from a deli.

                      If you think the service is rude or incompetent at Brent's, try Canter's. I think they pride themselves on terrible service.

                      Speaking of simple requests, I often go to El Cholo in Pasadena with my boring-food friends. I'm allergic to avocado, so every time I ask for the guacamole on a separate plate. Almost every time, same plate, and I have to scrape it off or eat around it. I just come to expect it.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: bromion

                        maybe you should rethink going to el cholo. i've stopped.

                        1. re: bromion

                          Canter's food is debatable.

                          But I've been there a zillion times and can't ever recall bad service.

                          I recall a sort of curmudgeonly-but-in-a-cute way service attitude from some of the older waitstaff ... sort of a crusty-grandparent routine ... but always in a fun way.

                          They get the orders right and all that.

                          I don't hate the food at Canter's,but I get that some people don't like it. But I've never minded just handing around there.

                          See, I'd throw the Encino Deli out there as a place never to return to.

                          I posted about Encino Deli once (and learned the Bagel Nosh story / connection). The food stinks. The prices are high. The service is terrible.

                          I only had to be burned ten times before I stopped going there.

                          Ironically, it's crowded in there ...

                          Here is that thread:


                        2. You know, I recently went to Brent's deli for the first time to try the famous Reuben. It was fine. However seeing as how it's farther from me than Langer's, there's absolutely no reason for me to go to Brent's ever again, it's just not even in the same discussion or ballpark as a Langer's pastrami sandwich. Our service was fine at Brent's, and the wait was only about 15 minutes or so on a Sunday for lunch.

                          1. I've eaten at Brents many, many times, both at the counter and in booths. I've eaten there when they were crazy-busy and when they were not busy. Only once can I remember a bad experience, when I ordered something to go and the man behind the counter was rude and short with me, and then messed up my order. But that can happen anywhere. Brent's is usually so busy and the employees work hard.

                            1. Yup, sorry to say that Brent's is a deli, and anyone who knows delis, knows they can be great one day and horrible the next. Brent's is no exception. It's still the best of the bunch, in my estimate, and I usually do okay there. For the money, it's still the best value. The portions are large. The food is good. The service is...well, it's a deli!!!

                              1. I was very disappointed in Brents. The atmosphere is like a cafeteria. The food was dry and unremarkable. I have given it more than one try. I will not go back. ... especially when I can go across the street to Jacks Deli. At Jacks, the portions are generous, the food is delicious, and the atmosphere is relaxing. Try the pastrami reuben. They are the greatest.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: dkburr

                                  Ron Peskin is an (expletive deleted), but the place is a slice of home for any self respecting New Yorker. Of course stuff happens anywhere but it is a darn sight better then the one in T.O. and anything else I know.