Bobby Flay's Favorite Steakhouse In NYC Is A Classic Choice

When celebrity chef, longtime Food Network personality, and grilling god Bobby Flay wants to enjoy a good steak in New York City (assuming he doesn't decide to just cook a perfectly juicy steak himself), he brings his appetite to Wolfgang's Steakhouse on Park Avenue in Manhattan. 

Flay and his daughter, Sophie, showcased Wolfgang's on an episode of their Food Network show "The Flay List." In the episode, Flay tells Sophie he doesn't bother with the menu because he knows what to order: chopped salad, onions and tomatoes, shrimp cocktail, creamed spinach, German-style hash-brown potatoes, and the porterhouse steak.

"That's the thing about a classic steakhouse meal — it's very simple and perfectly prepared," Flay says in the episode (via Amazon Prime). He explains that the salads and the shrimp cocktail are the "warmup" for the star of the show: the sizzling cuts of dry-aged Prime beef that come to your table so hot, they're still cooking.

"You hear the juices of the steak bubbling on the side of the plate, and then you have some creamed spinach and the potatoes — it all works really well together," Flay says. "It's a serious eat — like it's one of my most favorite perfect meals."

Which Wolfgang are we talking about?

Now, you'd be forgiven if you assumed the Wolfgang in the name refers to celebrity chef Wolfgang Puck who owns numerous restaurants, including some steakhouses, such as the celebrated Cut, New York. But it doesn't.

Wolfgang's Steakhouse is actually the creation of Wolfgang Zwiener, a former head waiter at Brooklyn's Peter Luger's, perhaps New York City's most famous steakhouse. Zwiener worked at Luger's for decades before opening his own restaurant in 2004. 

The two Wolfgangs clashed over trademark infringement after Zwiener's success on Park Avenue led him to open a location in Beverly Hills, just a few blocks from one of Puck's restaurants. Although Zwiener prevailed in court and now has more locations in NYC, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Hawaii, and several countries in Asia, the Beverly Hills restaurant eventually closed. 

Wolfgang's is known among national chains for serving some of the best-quality beef available in just four cuts — ribeye, porterhouse, New York sirloin, and filet mignon — all graded USDA prime, dry-aged on-site, and then carved by the in-house butcher. The original location at 4 Park Avenue survived the COVID-19 pandemic and remains the flagship. The restaurant is not only known for its beef but also for its vaulted tiled ceiling by Spanish-born architect Rafael Guastavino, one of only a few examples left in New York.

Why the porterhouse is often the go-to steakhouse cut

The porterhouse is a common menu item in steakhouses because it is actually two cuts of beef in one thick steak, separated by a T-bone. The tenderloin is on one side, and the strip loin is on the other, making it perfect to share among diners who have different preferences. Tenderloin, aka filet mignon, is tender and leaner while strip loin (sometimes called New York strip) is more marbled for a beefier flavor.

The expensive porterhouse is considered one of the best cuts of steak, and cooking it properly is crucial because no chef wants to burn food — or money. You can grill or pan-sear a porterhouse, but because a porterhouse should be at least 1.25 inches thick, cooking it either partially or entirely under the high heat of a broiler, which is what Wolfgang's does, is another method to achieve perfect doneness and external char.

Flay ordered the porterhouse medium-rare — although he once said he prefers steaks (and burgers) cooked medium because the extra cooking time allows more fat to render, improving the meat's taste and texture. But remember: A steak will continue to cook after it is pulled from the heat, which is one reason why resting meat after grilling or broiling is non-negotiable. Given that Wolfgang's steaks come to the table sliced and still sizzling on a piping-hot plate, a medium-rare steak could reach medium doneness by the time you dig in. Just don't wait too long!