No serious conversation about comfort food can be had without a discussion of yolk lava.
Watching a punctured sunny-side-up egg melt into a bowl of bibimbap, or slowly flood a pan of shakshuka, or even just bless a piece of toast is one of the deepest gastronomic pleasures available to us.
And I believe the symbolism of a bright-yellow sphere suspended in a white cloud is not lost on sun-starved Seattleites. Even the word itself sounds warm, aligning nicely with its sense: "Yolk" goes all the way back to the proto-Indo-European root "ghel-," meaning "to shine."
There's a whole lot of yolk lava happening around town, from the khachapuri at Dacha Diner to the steak tartare at the Walrus and the Carpenter, but my favorite recent examples can be found in two dishes cooked in the wood-fired oven at Mioposto: the Egg and Pancetta pizza, and the Baker.
Though the local pizza chain boasts four locations, the one you want to go to is the original spot, about a half mile up from the Mount Baker light rail station (3601 S McClellan St).
The orange walls and wood features make the interior feel cozy—more of a neighborhood wine bar and cafe that also happens to sell good pizza than a local parlor swarming with kids coming from soccer practice.
Giant windows look out onto the southern edge of Mount Baker Park. And in the autumn, the huge leafy oaks and beech trees go gold. The wood-fired oven surrounded by white tile and copper plating completes the romantic scene, and makes you wonder how much apartments are going for in the area. (I looked it up: $1,250 for a studio, like everywhere else.)
The front of the restaurant is all four-tops and two-tops, but toward the back you can sit on stools at a white-marble-top bar and watch the fire in the giant oven, which burns Washington applewood and serves as the only heating element in the kitchen. Joaquin, the kitchen manager of nine years, and the other cooks make everything in there. Literally. All the pizzas, bakes, stews, sauces, and even the orange rinds they smoke for the Smoked Orange Margarita.
For dinner, Mioposto offers heavy entrées (e.g., lasagna loaded with Italian sausage, a 12-ounce rib eye), salads, sandwiches, and a pretty antipasti, but the main draw is their selection of 12 pizzas. Hard to go wrong here, but the Egg and Pancetta pie stands out.
The Neapolitan-inspired dough, which is made at Macrina Bakery under Mioposto's specifications, is light, chewy, and pocked with perfectly charred bubbles. The rest of the ingredients are simple: a Calabrian chili pepper sauce, pancetta, mozzarella, Grana Padano, two whites and three yolks from organic eggs (for maximum lava action), and a sprinkle of bread crumbs to soak up the yolks.
When the pizza comes out of the oven, the cooks cut through the yolks so the golden goodness runs all over the pie. The yolks tame the heat of the chili oil, the crisp pancetta does the smoky-glory work that crisp bacon does in all dishes, and the cheese unites all elements into a truly satisfying pizza experience. It's a very good, simple, spicy pie. And from what I can tell on social media, it's also very Instagrammable.
If you're not into egg all over your pizza, you're a maniac. But Mioposto also has some truly exemplary non-yolk-lava dishes worth checking out. I highly recommend the Clam Bake. They top their standard dough with a white sauce made from cream, Grana Padano, and the juice from roasted Hood Canal clams, which they chop up and sprinkle on top along with pancetta. Once the pie comes out of the oven, they hit it with a glug of Corto olive oil, which has a strong peppery finish that cuts against the creamy base.
For a pure autumnal experience, the Zucca Balsamica also rules, though the butternut squash, caramelized onion, and balsamic combo can be a little too sweet.
At brunch, I like the Baker. The ingredients are simple: milled tomatoes, caramelized onions, Italian sausage, a little mozzarella cheese, and two eggs cracked on top. All of that goes into one of those ceramic boat-shaped dishes and gets baked in the oven. The joy here is ripping off a piece of the baked bread, which is just their pizza dough baked with rosemary and salt, and piercing the egg yolks so that they enrich the tomatoes. Will it cure your hangover? Absolutely. And it may even technically be healthy.
Speaking of hangovers, Mioposto has also recently started a barrel-aged cocktail program worth noting. Though I love lemon- flavored anything, I usually hate limoncello. It's always too sugary and syrupy—especially the stuff made by friends who just started their new liquor infusion hobby. But at Mioposto, a strong lemon-zest flavor and an authoritative burn from the grain alcohol prevents the cordial from becoming too sweet, and the liquid is clear and light on the tongue. It works especially well in the Mio Scroppino, a prosecco and mint cocktail that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Like a lot of restaurants in Seattle, Mioposto has a Starbucks-like story, according to spokesperson Robyn Nielsen. Jeremy Hardy and Tiah Holt Hardy went to Italy and fell in love with the Neapolitan pies. When they returned home, they wanted to bring back to Seattle a piece of Italy. "We call it a date-night pizzeria," Nielsen said.
The place originally opened in 2006, but "the Mio we know and love" kicked into gear in 2010. They expanded to Bryant, then West Seattle, and most recently to Mercer Island. After selling Coastal Kitchen in 2016, the Hardys expanded the Mount Baker Mioposto kitchen to include more prep space and walk-ins, and the place appears to be taking off again.
"Date-night" feels like the right descriptor, but only for couples who feel comfortable making out after inhaling a 12-inch pizza covered in egg yolk. But if you can't do that with your partner, are you truly in love?