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6 cheeses, hold the goo

Restaurants | DRIVE-BY DINING

October 28, 2004|Adam Tschorn | Special to The Times

Is it possible to have too much cheese on a pizza? The big chains don't think so. Back in '95, Pizza Hut rolled out a stuffed-crust pie with wads of extra mozzarella hidden along the rim. In 2000, it put the extra mozzarella flat inside the double-decker Insider.

Now Domino's has taken the cheese compulsion to a new extreme with the Doublemelt. This pie tucks a creamy herb-cheese sauce between two thin layers of crust, adds more cheese (mozzarella) plus tomato sauce and various traditional toppings, and then crowns it all with an additional six-cheese layer (provolone, Colby, Monterey Jack, Parmesan, Romano and more mozzarella).

But be warned: If you order a Doublemelt expecting a drippy goo-fest of oozing molten cheese (the kind of pizza Drive-By used to ask Santa for when he was younger), you may be disappointed.

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Doublemelt Pizza

Taste

**

The Doublemelt stands admirably on its own two crusts: a standard-issue pie with six extra cheeses on top and a whisper of added depth -- garlic and herbs cavort in the cheese sauce between the crusts. Still, cheese mavens are bound for disappointment: Even with seven cheeses on three levels, it's just not cheesy enough.

Diet Watch

*

The Doublemelt is capable of inflicting double damage on the diet. Each slice of a 12-inch pie contains 16 grams of fat and 320 calories (compared with 7 grams and 137 calories for a slice of Domino's Crunchy Thin Crust pie).

Portability

The average pizza is about as road-worthy as a handful of hot coffee, but the Doublemelt's dual crust makes it a surprisingly sturdy traveling companion at a consumption rate of two slices per mile (or 4 mpz, miles per 'za). It leaves behind no jettisoned toppings, no oil stains and only the faintest lingering scent -- a good thing, considering Domino's is the "official" pizza of NASCAR.

Hype-o-Meter

****

Ads in heavy rotation during "Monday Night Football" and "The Daily Show" feature a couple eating a pizza in their kitchen while Leslie Nielsen ("Naked Gun") waxes on about the "layer upon layer of cheese and crust." At the end, the camera reveals Nielsen standing in the couple's kitchen (did he sneak in between the crusts?). Cute. But the hype builds expectations beyond what the pizza delivers.

* Ratings are on a scale of one (lowest) to four (best).

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