There are many pretenders to the title of L.A.'s best deli, but Brent's Delicatessen & Restaurant rules over them all. The pros: a mega-menu of traditional New York deli favorites; the freshness of ingredients; and terrific customer service (no NYC attitude accompanies the blintzes). Does the house-made chicken soup with a baseball-sized matzo ball cure the common cold? There are those who would prescribe it for most ills. Could the cold roast beef be any rarer or juicier? Doubtful. The crisp, double-baked rye bread crust adds the crunch to perfectly seasoned corned beef (brined for 11 days before baking), just one of Brent's classic iterations of so-called Jewish soul food. Family-owned since 1967 (yes, there is a Brent), the question is really whether the O.G. Brent's in Northridge is the best, or if the second, newer location in Westlake Village has eclipsed the senior. The budget basic decor and close-in seating of the bland Northridge strip mall Brent's screams 1970s but has a certain urban authenticity. The second location — wildly busy on weekends — in Westlake Village has soaring ceilings, seating for 364 and more of a suburban vibe, but there's ample room to navigate the to-go deli and bakery case. Let's declare it a tie. 19565 Parthenia St., Northridge. (818) 886-5679; 2799 Townsgate Road, Westlake Village. (805) 557-1882;

—Kathy A. McDonald

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