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To saw or not to saw? Why restaurants give us those steak knives.

Let's explore the usage of steak knives in restaurants and other things you should know about them.

Hi, my name is Frederic Camboulives. My wife Aggie and I are the owners of Laguiole Imports and we started this "niche" business as a hobby 20 years ago. Talking about myself and how Laguiole Imports became the Laguiole online retail flagship it is today is not the purpose of this article, so I will save this story for another day.

Last night I took my wife and our two young children, Mila, 7, and Maxim, 10, to III Forks Steakhouse in Jacksonville, Florida. It is hands down our favorite steak house in town! What made this visit even more special than celebrating Aggie's birthday was that we had not dined at III Forks for over 1 ½ years due to the pandemic. 

Aggie and I like to take our folding knives with us to restaurants, especially when going to a place that offers amazing steaks. We (mostly Aggie) are pretty good at making sure they are always with us when going out. Unfortunately, because we had not been out in so long, we forgot our beloved 12 & 13 cm handle Laguiole folding knives. As a result, we were forced to use the "steak knives" provided by the house. Firstly, it is important that you are aware that these particular steaks are not exactly affordable. I ordered a $68 ribeye and Aggie a small $58 tenderloin. Other steaks cost upwards of $160, the wagyu for example; however, regardless of price they are all served with the same steak knife.

As always, the service was impeccable, the food was delicious and cooked exactly the way we like, they were even kind enough to seat us at our favorite table. So you may ask what was wrong, everything seems to have been executed perfectly, and the answer, you guessed it, is the reason why I am writing this post.

The steaks are accompanied with a heavy-duty knife that probably weighs about 8 oz and has huge serrated teeth. Now, why would the chef of this establishment agree to, or perhaps even chose, to serve amazing steaks with a saw knife? Having some knowledge of the hospitality business, I can give you a few reasons why. 

A knife like the one pictured is very inexpensive, so no big deal if it is lost or stolen. It is dishwasher safe, bulletproof and will never need to be sharpened because it's not sharp; it is a saw.

Lastly, and most importantly, it would be almost impossible to cut or stab ourselves with such a tool. So yes, I get it, and it makes sense from a restaurant's point of view. At the end of the day, liability and convenience is more important than customer experience. Customers don't complain because most of us don't know any better. You know the saying, we cannot miss something we never had!

With that said, sawing such an exquisite and tender piece of culinary art was not enjoyable; it took away from the experience that was certainly intended.

Having your own folding knives at a restaurant is something that I strongly recommend to any food lover. It will be yours, it will be clean, it will not be a saw and will not have passed through thousands of hands before yours.

Your knife will also be sharp, cut effortlessly and leave a pristine cut (unlike the one in the picture). Please take my word for it and try it. You will look like a food connoisseur and get a lot more bang for the money you spent on that amazing steak. 

After all, many restaurants allow guests to bring their own bottle of wine for a moderate uncorking fee. Bring your own folding knife as well and complete the experience. 

Knives I recommend:

1) Laguiole folding knives with a 12 cm or 13 cm handle, the latter is increasingly hard to find. Laguiole folding knives are the most elegant and famous folders in the world and will be at home in any restaurant including Maxim's in Paris if you don't mind the splurge ; )

2) Any folding knife with a 3 ¼" to 3 ¾" blade that doesn't look like a weapon.

Of course, please consider and become familiar with your states knife carrying laws and restrictions.

We offer a small storage box that will hold most folding knives we offer.

two laguiole folding knives in a small wooden box