The San Fernando Valley is frequently a punchline, but it’s clear that L.A.’s awkward, less attractive sibling features plenty of great eating. Here are five dishes that justify the drive over the hill.
Brent’s Deli – Northridge – Black Pastrami Reuben
Brent’s and Langer’s both have their supporters as the top deli in Los Angeles. It’s certainly no worse than #2 on my shortlist (two delis long), and is without a doubt worth a trip to the heart of the West Valley. The Black Pastrami Reuben is served on grilled rye with melted Swiss, hot sauerkraut and Russian dressing. The thin-sliced pile of beef is lean and subtly spicy and the accoutrements help to create an incredible balance. Brent’s Reuben comes with definitive containers of cole slaw and potato salad.
Bua Siam – North Hollywood – Thai Spaghetti with Bay Leaf Stew
Don’t let the dingy North Hollywood strip mall dissuade you. Bua Siam serves some of the most compelling northern Thai food in Los Angeles. Just like at Jitlada and a couple other top Thai restaurants in town, the most compelling dishes are listed on the back of Bua Siam’s menu, including Thai Spaghetti with Bay Leaf Stew. For one of my longtime favorites, rice noodles arrive blanketed with chopped greens, cinnamon-like cassia buds and a mildly spicy curry broth.