Now they are taking on New York's most beloved food.
When Chef Ivan Orkin opened the original Ivan Ramen in Tokyo in 2006, he made a name for himself by serving up celebrated bowls of the city's most beloved comfort food. Eleven years later, he and his team are attempting to do the same with pizza in New York City.
Opening today at Gotham West Market, Corner Slice is the brainchild of Orkin, his longtime business partner David Poran and former Ivan Ramen chef Michael Bergemann. While Orkin and Poran provided plenty of support and guidance during the shop's development, it's Bergemann that actually led the recipe creation and testing over the past year. After months of experimenting with different flour combinations, Bergemann eventually landed on a dough recipe that combined spelt, durham and wheat and rests, undergoing fermentation, for more than 60 hours. The result is a light and airy crust with complex, funky flavors, inspired by the classic Roman style.
Corner Slice currently offers tomato, white and cheese pies, both by the slice and as whole pizzas, that can be customized with any of 11 topping options including roasted onion, pickled chili and hot soppressata. The menu also includes a breakfast sandwich stuffed with peppers and sausage, meatball and porchetta sandwiches for lunch, an “antipasto style” green salad and classic desserts like root-beer floats and lemon ices.
Although Corner Slice is definitely pizza-focused, the 400 square-foot space pays homage to pizzerias of yesteryear, many of which began as Italian bakeries, by serving coffee (La Colombe) and pastries, all of which are made on-site. Bergemann developed all of the baked goods, including the outstanding semolina chocolate cake and olive-oil-pistachio muffins, with the help of his brother (and Corner Slice's head baker) Pete. Formerly of Austin's Easy Tiger, the younger Bergemann worked with his brother from a distance on all of the pastry recipes before relocating to New York to join the Corner Slice opening team.
It's already been a big year for Orkin, who was one of six chefs profiled in season three of Netflix's Chef's Table. Orkin's inclusion was notable for a number of reasons: His New York flagship has the lowest price point of any restaurant ever featured on the show, and Orkin's emotional journey from dishwasher at a Japanese restaurant in Long Island to today is one of the most captivating stories that Chef's Table has produced.
Corner Slice is conducting a soft opening until March 13, at which point the shop will expand its hours to mirror those of Gotham West Market, 7:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. from Sunday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to midnight on the weekends. This is Orkin and Poran's second outpost in the food hall, following Ivan Ramen Slurp Shop, which was orignally run by Bergemann and opened in 2013.