Against the Grain
Five Great Knives for Steakhouse-Quality Cutlery at Home
While there is no shame in function over fashion, a standout steak knife is the one that gets the job done while looking good against a tablecloth. The styles are many and the arguments are often double-edged. Serrated knives can tackle the toughest bark on a brisket, but good luck sharpening one. Straight knives dull fast against an unforgiving plate, but they’ll save your meat from shredding and can be sharpened easily, ensuring a longer lifespan. Do you burn through one-dollar steak knives from the grocery store every few years, or adopt a “buy it for life” mindset? No matter the instrument, your meat will inevitably lie in chewable pieces in front of you; the question is how much exertion do you want to expend in the process, and how exceptional do you want to look while doing it?
Wusthof Classic Ikon
Wusthof, a family-owned business, has been doing knives since 1814. The Classic Ikon is sleek and contemporary with a distinct double-bolster design. The bolster at the butt of the blade is for added balance, while the bolster at half-blade ensures that the knife can be sharpened along the entire length of its edge.
Victorinox Swiss Army Rosewood, Spear Point, Straight Edge
The edge of any Victorinox blade is sharp enough to handle a tough cut of meat, but the brand’s steak knife also has an edge on comfort. Though not dishwasher safe, the contoured rosewood handle is naturally lightweight and negates the slippery sweatiness of plastic- or metal-handled blades.
Chicago Cutlery, Walnut Tradition Steak Knives
Before they became a knife manufacturer, Chicago Cutlery started as a knife-conditioning service for butchers and meat packers in 1930. The Walnut Tradition knife is a solid budget option, retaining many key features for a steak knife (full tang, triple riveted) at an accessible price point.
Shun, Shima Steak Knife
Shun knives come from Seki City, which has been widely regarded as the heart of Japanese cutlery since the 13th century. The Shima steak knife is particularly notable for its distinctive lines. Its contoured handle tapers slightly at the end in a “pinch-point” for added stability, and its re-curved blade slices at an angle, minimizing your overall sawing experience.
Forge De Laguiole, Satin Finish, Premium Wood Series
If Seki City is the focal point for cutlery in Japan, Laguiole is the mecca in France. Laguiole is the name of a village in the Aveyron region where the blades were first developed in the 19th century as tools to be used by shepherds. News of their superior quality spread over time, and now, it is hard to find Laguiole knives that aren’t cheap knock-offs. The Forge de Laguiole is one of the few manufacturers still producing these blades, and this is their steak knife. They are made start to finish by the same craftsman and are available in a variety of different wood handles including rosewood, vinewood, ebony and maple to name a few.