Friday nights in the Malcolm house meant ordering a large cheese pie from Tony’s Pizzeria, which was a 20-second walk from our front stoop. To honor pizza in all its glory, welcome to Pizza Friday! here at Gastronaut. We’ll celebrate a different Houston pizzeria each week, rating its basic cheese slice on the pizzaaaaa! scale (the more As the better).
This week: Frank's Pizza
Hey, Timothy Malcolm here. For this week, I'm turning over the story to Joanna O'Leary, who's a relative newbie to New York pizza indulgence. Spoiler: She really likes Frank's. I'll give my slice grade after her story. Take it away, Joanna:
My introduction to the phrase “Coke and a slice” came while watching season two, episode seven of The Sopranos. When Christopher Moltisanti places his order for “a Coke and a slice” at a pizzeria that boasts “the best pie in North Jersey,” I initially thought he (and others on The Sopranos) had requested a “coconut slice” (and I am not the only one).
Assuming this tropical pizza variety was some sort of regional specialty, I began rapidly googling for additional references only to discover the true nature of his utterance. Apparently, asking for a “piece of pizza” is way declasse (irony noted) in the Pizza Belt, so be forewarned should you plan on making a pepperoni pie crawl across this area (roughly, Providence, Rhode Island south to Philadelphia).
Purchasing an entire pizza is usually my default, but for swift solo lunches “a (Diet) Coke and a slice” does me just fine, and my go-to spot is Frank’s Pizza. There are other quality pizzerias in H-Town that sell slices (refer to this) but Frank’s “slices” deserve scare quotes for their deliciously questionable size. A single slice of pizza ($3.25-3.75 depending on toppings) at Frank’s easily equals two slices at some comparable parlors, which translates to more crust for your buck. I like mine plain as to relish how the simplicity of the oozing mozzarella against the thin spread of sweet tomato sauce gives rise to umami perfection.
The width of slice necessitates a fold, which leads to big, multi-layered bites that fill me with such calming joy that it’s difficultto channel my inner angry gangster no matter how PO’d I was before I walked into Frank’s. Too bad a Coke and a slice didn’t have the same sobering effect on Christopher.
And now back to Timothy:
Slice rating: pizzaaaaaa!
I had a pie at Frank's quickly after arriving in Houston three months ago. How'd it taste? I really enjoyed it. Frank's slice has a solid balance of flavorful mozzarella and light tomato sauce—nearly perfect. It has a good crispy crust. But as Joanna noted, the pieces are large and in charge, and as I've noted, too big a slice can be a problem. Frank's is one of the better New York attempts in Houston and an obvious candidate any time you want a slice. And a Coke.
Want to recommend a pizza place to Timothy? Send him an email at email@example.com.