It's all well and good to know where the best pizza in the city is—if you've got the time to travel there—but what if you need a decent slice right now? Slice'rs know that every street-corner slice in NYC is not created equal, so we decided to explore the possibilities literally block by block.

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A slice from Rosario's [Photographs: J. Kenji Lopez-Alt]

The Lower East Side strip just below Houston near Allen street has plenty of great bars and night spots. But is there anywhere to get a decent slice to postpone the next morning's hangover?

The Best: Rosario Pizza ($2.50)

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A very surprisingly tasty slice from Rosario, a family-owned joint that's been around since 1963. When I ordered my slice, the son of the original owner, Sal Bartolomeo (check out an interview with him here), was manning the peel. Keeping it in the family is generally a sign of good pizza to come.

The slice at Rosario looks a little pale in the crust from above, but a peek at the undercarriage reveals some really nice charring. The cheese is plenty flavorful and salty, and while the sauce could be fresher, it's certainly not worth complaining about. I much prefered the traditional cheese slice to their signature "Rosa" ($2.25), which is a cheese-less slice doused in a basil-flavored tomato sauce that tasted too much of raw, chunky garlic. If you're into that, you might enjoy it.

A classic NY-style slice if there ever was one.

Rosario Pizza

173 Orchard Street, New York, NY 10002 (map)
212-777-9813 ‎

Middle of the Road: Ciao Bella Pizzeria & Restaurant ($2.50)

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A decent looking and tasting slice though the crust bordered on too tender, lacking in any real chew or stretch. It was also underseasoned—the cheese and sauce both could have used more salt. Their 2-slice-1-can-$5 lunch deal is the way to go if you want to save a few bucks, but it's worth walking the extra block or two to Rosario for a better slice if you're not hard up for the free can of soda.

Ciao Bella Pizza

125 Allen Street, New York, NY 10002 (map)
212-388-1777; ciaobellapizzerianyc.com

Skip It: Rocket Joe's ($2)

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I don't really get sesame seed crusts, but they won't deter me from a good slice. Unfortunately, Rocket Joe's just ain't a good slice, sesame seeds or no. Underbaked with way too much bland cheese and very little sauce, there's not much going for it. It was the most filling slice I tried and the cheapest, and rumor has it that it's also open way past their official closing hours. I could imagine myself stumbling in very late at night, but in the harsh light of day, the pie just doesn't hold up.

Rocket Joe's

61 Delancey St # 2, New York, NY 10002 (map)
212-334-5900

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