Thursday, January 31, 2013

Pizza Delivery: Domino's

It took almost three months to recover from my first pizza delivery review (Papa John's.) Needless to say, I wasn't looking forward to my second; but as Ben Franklin said, "You may delay, but time will not." It was time to call Domino's.

Twenty years ago, Domino's was the name in pizza delivery, home of the 30-minute guarantee. That's probably how long it's been (20 years, not half an hour) since I had one. I remember Domino's as awful... hands down, the worst pizza in town. I decided to take a chance on their new Handmade Pan Pizza, which just happens to be on sale... A medium two-topping pie costs $7.99. I took advantage of a free 30-day trial via ShopRunner (super easy to cancel) to get free delivery, but had to come up with an $11.99 minimum to even qualify for delivery (free or not) from the Tenleytown Domino's at 4538 Wisconsin Ave., NW.

Domino's 12" pan pizza comes standard with robust inspired tomato sauce, cheese and shredded provolone cheese... with two toppings of my choosing (Italian sausage and sliced Italian sausage.) Online ordering was a breeze, and my total came to $13.30 ($11.98 + 1.32 tax.) My order went in at 8:32 (with an approximate wait time of 25-35 minutes.) 24 minutes later, my pizza and breadsticks arrived safely. After tipping my driver $3, I brought my pizza inside for inspection.

Domino's Handmade Pan Pizza

The first thing I noticed was the unique black box that carried my pie (I immediately felt special.) Its contents shifted a bit on the way over, but not enough to make you say "yuck!" The crust was thick and delicious. Yes, you read correctly... delicious. Pan cooking is "da bomb." Cheese was gooey, but not bad. An hour later, I couldn't tell you how the sauce tasted, so it's safe to call it unmemorable. From there, it's a tale of two sausages: The standard Italian sausage was almost gross; while the sliced Italian sausage was really, really good. Color me surprised twice. Three slices and you're full; but for delivery pizza, I have to say I was impressed.

Domino's Breadsticks

The same can't be said for their dreadful "breadsticks." Packed in a separate box, they're more wedges than sticks, and doughy to a fault. A creamer-like container of marinara sauce was ice cold and didn't help. Next time you have to add to an order... make sure it's a couple of 2-liter bottles of soda (at least you know what you're getting there.)

Order process: A (Pretty easy, plus I was able to wipe out the $2 delivery fee.)
Wait: A (24 minutes. Under-promise, over-deliver = Happy customer.)
Presentation: C+ (I liked the black box, but the pie did shift.)
Taste: B (The breadsticks were an F; but the crust and sliced Italian sausage would be good on any pizza.)
Value: B
Overall: B (It's not perfect, but Domino's Handmade Pan Pizza is the best delivery option out there.)