Now that, my friends, is a New York-style cheese (plain) slice.

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: Pizza L’Vino (River Oaks)

WE HAVE A LEADER IN THE CLUBHOUSE. It’s been a month since I’ve started this weekly quest to find the best pizza in Houston, and Pizza L’Vino has vaulted to the top of the scoreboard.

Last week I visited Star Pizza, which means Pizza L’Vino is a logical next step. The concept was created by Star’s Ed Barnett, a Chicagoan, and New Yorker Barry Gomel of Boudreaux’s Cajun Kitchen. The idea was to add wine to pizza. That’s about it.

Of course, that’s a perfect combination. I’ve spent more than a couple warm Friday evenings with a small pie and big ol’ bottle of red, preferably on a patio or porch. Few things usher in the weekend better than pizza and wine.

The Pizza L’Vino on Waugh has wine, along with beer, but it’s mostly a takeout operation as there are just a handful of stools against a window counter. No matter, because I can always take my pizza and wine to-go. And considering the taste of the pie, it really doesn’t matter where I enjoy it.

“We get a lot of compliments,” said the counter worker at Waugh, and while he was talking about the pizzeria’s Chicago-style offerings, I would have to think the same goes for the New York-style slice. This is pretty darn close to what I’ve been eating for about 30 years.

You can get a few slices of the New York-style (cheese, pepperoni, spinach, olives, sausage, mushroom). I also tried pepperoni, which was your standard slice with the ordinary spicy bite. All good. I don’t need a big production here, especially if there’s wine nearby.

Slice rating: pizzaaaaaa!

So why is the cheese slice so good? It’s the right balance of cheese and tomato sauce over a super-thin crust that manages to be just crunchy enough but easy to fold. Bonus: grease in the pocket. It’s also taller than it is wider. My slice was in the oven a tic longer than necessary, and I would’ve liked a bit more tang out of the mozzarella, but I’m not complaining much here. So far it’s my standard bearer with so, so many pizza places left to play.

Want to recommend a pizza place to Timothy? Send him an email at tmalcolm@houstoniamag.com.

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