Brent's Deli, founded in 1967, was the second deli to open at this strip mall location in far-flung Northridge. Founder Ron Peskin, who hailed from Cleveland, Ohio, had been working in various deli counters in San Fernando Valley before striking out on his own. Taking over a spot called Brent's Deli, Peskin and his wife Patricia decided to keep the name since they already had a son named Brent. Along with daughter Carie and son-in-law Marc, the family grew this iconic deli on the back of one great sandwich: the black pastrami sandwich.
As for the dish itself, it starts with house-cured pastrami, seasoned heavily with spices so that a black crust forms. The rye bread, which comes par-baked from a nearby bakery, gets another trip to the oven to create a nice crispy crust. House-made russian dressing, and some crunchy sauerkraut round out the ingredients, but it's all about the technique and quality of the meat.
A first bite is telling: the pastrami doesn't fall out of the bread. It's that perfect texture between tender and meaty, with a heavy dose of pepper and salt. Slather on some mustard, and remind yourself that it's the only sandwich making a trip all the way to Northridge (or the newer Westlake Village location).