REVIEW: Domino’s Artisan Pizza (Spinach & Feta and Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio)

Domino's Spinach & Feta Artisan Pizza

When I signed up to review Domino’s new Artisan Pizzas, I immediately began thinking of disparaging comments to make about their choosing to use the word artisan. “Domino’s employees are to artisans,” I imagined myself writing, “as the Noid is to a relevant cultural icon.” That’s not even the cleverest or pithiest analogy I had lined up, if you can believe that’s even possible.

I was so ready to do the whole snarky-blogger thing, but Domino’s has preempted any snark by actually embedding it into their ad campaign. The text on their new pizza boxes starts with, “We’re not artisans, we don’t wear black berets,” and their new TV ad vilifies some vaguely French chef who’s acting like a prima donna. By acknowledging the images associated with artisans and wink-winking at the ridiculousness of their artisanal aspirations, the folks at Domino’s have managed to take all the fun out of making fun of them. (Although it’s great we can all still make fun of the French – what is with those berets, amirite?)

While they could get out in front of my snarkiness, I knew they couldn’t stop me from criticizing their crappy pizzas, and I was intent on writing a blistering review. There was only one problem: these pizzas were actually pretty good.

Each pizza was rectangular and cut into eighths, with all the toppings reasonably well-distributed across the slices. Both pizzas had crusts that were thinner and crispier than usual Domino’s fare but still structurally sound enough to support the toppings.

The Spinach & Feta pizza had alfredo sauce, feta and parmesan-asiago cheeses, fresh baby spinach, and onions. I was pleasantly surprised to find that there was a significant amount of feta, as its sharp tanginess was the primary flavor of the pizza. In some places the cheese was spread almost from edge-to-edge, leaving the crusts quite tasty, as well. The spinach and onions were noticeable in their contributions to the texture of the pizza, but I wish there had been more of each topping, as both were mostly overwhelmed by the feta.

Domino's Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio Artisan Pizza

The Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio had parmesan-asiago cheese, sliced Italian sausage, and red, green, and banana peppers. The sausage was nothing special; it had some sweetness but wasn’t particularly spicy. I imagine it was the same as can be found on any other Domino’s pizzas, but serving it in thicker slices rather than the usual crumbles seemed to hold in the flavor better. The green and red peppers added some mild crunch, but they were completely upstaged by the banana peppers. The banana peppers were the clear-cut stars of the Pepper Trio, much like Beyonce to Destiny’s Child or Joe to the Jonas Brothers or somebody else that would make you look less poorly upon my musical tastes. I had never ordered a pizza with banana peppers before, but their strong vinegary, spicy presence on the Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio has convinced me to add banana peppers to the toppings rotation from now on. A generous dusting of oregano rounded out a pretty well-made pizza.

Domino's Artisan Pizza Slices

As far as other complaints go, the pizza was relatively pricey and fairly small compared to their regular offerings (they measure in at 13″ x 9″, so roughly the size of one of their medium pizzas for the price of a large). Still, I give these pizzas a thumbs-up, and they’re certainly better than Domino’s re-launched pizzas from last year. Domino’s, you guys are running some annoyingly self-aware ad campaigns, but as long as you keep up the tastiness of these Artisan Pizzas and the Francophobia in your commercials, I will make sure to keep my blogger snark in check.

(Nutrition Facts – 1/6th of a pizza – Spinach & Feta – 150 calories, 7 grams of fat, 3 grams of saturated fat, 250 milligrams of sodium, 17 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 1 gram of sugar, and 6 grams of protein. Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio – 160 calories, 7 grams of fat, 2.5 grams of saturated fat, 330 milligrams of sodium, 18 grams of carbohydrates, 1 gram of fiber, 2 grams of sugar, and 7 grams of protein.)

Other Domino’s Artisan Pizza reviews:
Grub Grade

Item: Domino’s Artisan Pizza (Spinach & Feta and Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio)
Price: $7.99
Size: N/A
Purchased at: Domino’s
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Spinach & Feta)
Rating: 7 out of 10 (Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio)
Pros: Crust was thinner and crispier than regular Domino’s pizzas. Spinach & Feta had significant amount of feta cheese spread from crust-to-crust. Italian Sausage & Pepper Trio had delicious banana peppers and thickly-sliced sausage. Vilifying French people. Referencing the Noid. Beyonce’s having a baby!
Cons: Not enough spinach and onion to stand out against the feta. Green and red peppers were kind of useless. Pizzas were a bit expensive for the size. Domino’s pre-empting my snark. Spellcheck not recognizing snark as a word.

REVIEW: Domino’s Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza

Domino's Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza

Full disclosure: I’ve never actually been to Wisconsin. But my parents are from Michigan and I have watched several episodes of That ’70s Show, so I assume I qualify as a part-time resident. However, I’m also from New Jersey, which means my standards for pizza are unreasonably high. This presents a dilemma because I want to give Domino€™s credit for experimenting just a little bit. Six cheese pizza isn€™t exactly cherpumple-level creativity, but it€™s at least a step outside their usual wheelhouse, so good for them. Doesn’t make up for unleashing the Noid upon humanity, but hell, it’s a start.

That said, I live on the PA/Jersey border. When there are four great pizza places within five miles of your house and another thirteen decent ones, it€™s hard to get jazzed about Domino€™s no matter how many improvements they make. I imagine it€™s akin to visiting Louisiana, stepping off the plane, and immediately asking where the nearest KFC is. It just isn’t done. But pizza snobbery has no place here, and I’ll admit I was curious about whether they’d successfully crafted a pizza with six distinct flavors, or if it’d be just one big gooey orgy of cheese, wantonly bumping and grinding on my palate. Don’t… picture that too vividly.

If nothing else, I think we can all agree that Domino’s nailed the exact right number of cheeses to slather on this thing. Seven would be ostentatious, and five? Five? Get fucking serious. No, it had to be six, and so it is. Now indulge me as I live out my secret dream of being a sportscaster and let’s break down this formidable Wisconsin lineup:

Mozzarella – The veteran. Classic, not flashy, just shows up every time and leaves it all out there.
Provolone – Highly heralded acquisition, known for solid play on a variety of other dishes.
Feta – Surprising pick. Not an anticipated “get,” but might be exactly what’s needed to plug holes in the flavor profile.
Cheddar €“ Coming off long stints with rivals like burgers and tacos, but has partnered effectively with mozzarella in the past. Look for a devastating one-two combo.
Parmesan – Perennial free agent. Rarely an integral member of the team, but proven ability to work well with others.
Asiago – The new hotness. Bold, crass, outspoken; could be trouble, but dammit, just so talented.

Upon getting the pie home, I immediately dug in because pizza waits for no man, woman or child; if you leave it alone long enough, it will actually eat itself. It was warm, a good start because it’s winter in the northeast and we’re keeping the heat low as a cost-saving measure. My pregnant wife, of course, is a virtual blast furnace and thinks the temperature is just fine; but meanwhile I’m chipping icicles off the thermostat and our daughter’s first complete sentence is “Mama, I can’t feel my legs.” So hot pizza was a welcome commodity. But that€™s not what you’re here for — you want to know how it tastes.

Domino's Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza SliceWell, it tastes like regular cheese pizza.

I mean, decent cheese pizza — give Domino’s credit, their new blend IS an improvement on what they used to offer. I’m not a foodie, but there was definitely a bit of tang attributable to the asiago. (Ironically, most of it seemed to come from the crust, which was crisp and quite tasty.) By concentrating I was even able to detect a very slight aftertaste that was almost certainly either provolone or my imagination. But, you know, that’s it. No feta chunks or discernible feta at all, really. Domino€™s press release claims “We€™re talking 40 percent more cheese than a regular Domino€™s pizza,” but I€™m talking you’d never know it. If you eat pizza the way I usually do, scarfing it down while watching TV or playing on the Internet, you are essentially eating a one cheese pizza. It’s like if the five Voltron lions flew up in the air and combined to form one and a half lions. Still cool, but the whole is less than the sum of the parts.

In the interest of giving a full and fair hearing, I even reheated some in the microwave to see if that changed the taste in any way. No, don’t thank me; that’s just the kind of journalistic excellence we strive for here at TIB. As expected, it didn€™t have much of an impact. There may have been a bit more bite to the asiago, but there€™s a 90 percent likelihood my mind was playing tricks on me. Or maybe it€™s just that I was eating it for breakfast. Either way, my initial impression remained the same: not bad, but just regular cheese pizza… no more, no less.

I think I walked away disappointed from Domino’s latest offering because I had built it up in my mind as something that was going to kick my tongue’s ass and convert me into a Wisconsin Badgers fan. It didn’t, but if what you’re looking for is a very slight variation on a familiar theme, it might be right up your alley. Otherwise, take the extra money you would have spent and get yourself a real topping instead.

(Nutrition Facts )one slice from 12″ pizza) 250 calories, 100 calories from fat, 12 grams of total fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 0 grams of trans fat, 25 milligrams of cholesterol, 500 milligrams of sodium, 25 grams of total carbohydrates, 1 gram of dietary fiber, 2 grams of sugars, 11 grams of protein, 10% vitamin A, 6% vitamin C, 20% calcium and 10% iron.)

Item: Domino’s Wisconsin 6 Cheese Pizza
Price: $13.99
Size: 12″/8 slices
Purchased at: Domino’s
Rating: 6 out of 10 (apropos, no?)
Pros: Supporting my almost quasi-part-time state. Thinking outside the box. Improved recipe. Crisp, cheesy crust. Fights the winter chill. Avoids the Noid.
Cons: Shaming my actual home state. “Outside the box” remarkably similar to “inside the box.” Neutered Voltron. Missionary-style cheese orgy. Not as fun to say as “cherpumple.” Costs more than getting 3(!) toppings on the same-size pie.

Domino’s Philly Cheese Steak Oven Baked Sandwich

Good news for people who love the idea of delivered food but hate eating Domino’s pizza! These oven-baked sandwiches are actually pretty tasty for something that comes from a nationwide pizza chain. That probably isn’t say much considering most new products from these companies usually involve various varieties of pizza dipped in ranch dressing, but these sandwiches most likely pack enough flavor and heft to satisfy you.

Domino’s has been pushing these sandwiches for a while because they want to compete with Subway for your lunch-time dollars. They have even gone as far as to set up taste tests to see if they can compete with Subway’s fresh flavors. They thoroughly kick Subway’s ass in these surveys, but that’s not a great accomplishment when Subway uses processed chicken and Domino’s sandwiches are basically made from bacon and lard. It would take Jared another thousand Veggie Delites to burn the calories from a month of eating these babies. That’s what we call a “mismatch,” folks.

But I suppose if you’re ordering from Domino’s, you really don’t mind a little grease dripping from your sandwich. Hell, that’s how you know it’s good! I ordered the Philly Cheese Steak one and intently watched Domino’s Online Pizza Tracker as it baked in a 450-degree oven. When it arrived, I took note of the grease spots surrounding the box and its impressive-but-won’t-scare-the-ladies 8-inch length.

I bit into the “thick and crispy artisan bread,” which tasted like a cross between Ciabatta bread on the outside and pizza dough on the inside. It wasn’t bad and held up pretty well through the delivery process even if it’s nothing like a real Philly cheese steak roll. The steak wasn’t piled as high as I would have liked, but it was real steak topped with nicely melted provolone cheese and a random smattering of peppers and onions.

I must say that it’s pretty much the farthest thing away from authentic that I can think of. It’s still nonetheless a tasty steak sandwich that filled me up. I can’t really stand eating Domino’s pizza, so this is a good alternative to order when I have cheap friends over who enjoy their 5-5-5 Deal. A ringing endorsement if there ever was one!

(Nutritional Facts – 1 sub – 690 calories, 250 calories from fat, 27 grams of fat, 14 grams of saturated fat, 90 mg of cholesterol, 2080 mg of sodium, 72 grams of carbs, 41 grams of protein, 15% Vitamin A, 20% Vitamin C, 50% Calcium, and 15% iron)

Item: Domino’s Philly Cheese Steak Oven Baked Sandwich
Price: $4.99
Purchased at: Domino’s
Rating: 7 out of 10
Pros: Real, unprocessed slices of steak. Bread doesn’t get soggy after being delivered. Cheese and toppings are nicely melted. Much better than Domino’s actual pizza.
Cons: It’s going to make you feel fat. Meat isn’t really piled that high. Doesn’t taste like a real cheese steak. Can be pricey once delivery + tip are taken into account.