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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Connection, Ithaca

I was back in Ithaca on Memorial Day, not for a hike this time but for a family outing. We were disappointed to learn that there was no swimming, or even wading, allowed in any of the many nearby state parks until mid-June (the effect of state budget cutbacks?), but in spite of that we had a good time. The Ithaca Sciencenter was a big hit with my daughter, and more than made up for the lack of aquatic activity.
For my part, I got to check out a couple of new-to-me pizza places. First up was The Connection, which is just across the street from the Chapter House, of which I have fond memories from visits to Ithaca of years ago. (Apparently The Connection is also related to Loco Margarita, a relatively new Mexican restaurant/bar next door.)
I got a single cheese slice, though I was sorely tempted by the "Popeye" pizza, a white pizza topped with spinach and feta. But a basic cheese slice is the benchmark for me, and I wanted to save room in my stomach for at least one more slice from another pizzeria (and for a cone from Purity Ice Cream, a local institution), so I just stuck with the one cheese slice.
As seems to be true of a lot of Ithaca pizza, this was thin, and more or less New York style pizza. Although it wasn't an especially large slice, particularly compared to the giant slices that have become more and more common these days, it was more than reasonably priced, at just a dollar. Pepperoni slices at The Connection were also a buck each, and "gourmet" slices, including the Popeye, were a still inexpensive $1.69.
My slice looked to have been screen baked, with a uniformly brown underside. It was more crisp than I would have expected from its appearance, thanks in part, I'm sure, to the reheating it got before it was served to me.
For a plain cheese slice, it was a little oily. I let some of the oil drip off the tip, and mopped up a bit more with my napkin. The cheese was a bit browned and was passable.
This slice was rather light on the sauce. I don't necessarily like a lot of sauce on my pizza, but here there was just a very thin layer between the crust and the cheese. For my taste, this could've used a little more, to give the slice more flavor and moisture and to balance out the other two components.
The Connection has an extensive menu, with six specialty pizzas, including a Margherita and a roasted chicken vodka pizza, a wide array of toppings, calzones, wings, pasta, subs, salads, and burritos, among other choices. There's very little seating, though we were able to eat on the premises on a relatively quiet holiday afternoon. As befits a pizzeria catering to college students, they're open late, till 2 a.m., every night.
This was decent pizza. I enjoyed it well enough. At the same time, it was nothing special. On the plus side, the crust was reasonably crisp, and the overall flavor was pretty good. On the down side, the crust wasn't great, either. It was also surprisingly oily for a cheese slice, and as I mentioned, a little light in the sauce department.
So on balance, I'm giving this a C. I know some people think that's a bad grade, but all it means is that this was pretty average pizza. Not bad, particularly, but nothing I'd go out of my way for. I would like to sample some of The Connection's gourmet offerings sometime, but this basic cheese slice was simply adequate.
The Connection, 310 Stewart Ave., Ithaca
607-256-3278
Mon. - Thu. 4 p.m. - 2 a.m., Fri. - Sun. 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.

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