Until recently, I was working on a guide to the best steak knives. But as soon I started putting it together - gathering knives and considering criteria - a few complications arose.
Turns out, there are a lot of steak knives out there - so I’m going to take some extra time to test things out. Also, there are two main subdivisions of steak knife to consider: serrated and non-serrated. Serrated knives are handy - and extremely common - because they’re easy to maintain. Neglect them for a thousand years, and they’ll still probably slice through a porterhouse. Non-serrated knives, on the other hand, produce cleaner cuts with less tearing and juice-spilling - but you also need to sharpen them from time to time. Plus, they’re (usually) pricey.
So there I was, torn between writing about practical, serrated knives or chic, expensive non-serrated implements that both you and I would probably be too lazy to sharpen. But, it turns out, there’s a middle ground you should know about, and it’s called the Opinel Table Knife.
But wait, doesn’t Opinel make dedicated steak knives? Why yes, they do. I own a few, and they’re wonderful. Their handles are more ergonomic than the Table Knives, and they have tiny serrations along their blades to help you cut your meat. Still, I hardly ever use them - because I truly believe that non-serrated Opinel Table Knives are better for meat, or, really, anything else you’d put on a plate.
The first time I used an Opinel Table Knife, it was at a restaurant in Manhattan, and I thought to myself, “I hate how much I like this object.” I wasn’t eating steak, but I knew from the bottom of my heart that this knife could tackle anything. Now, I have a few Table Knives of my own, and I sometimes use these sharp, unassuming-yet-attractive tools as an excuse to cook some meat (which qualifies as fun during a pandemic). Whatever you make, these knives can handle it. And if you accidentally bash your Opinels against a ceramic plate, both will survive no worse for the wear.
A set of four Opinel Table Knives will cost you around $50, so they aren’t the absolute cheapest knives available - but you should trust me when I tell you that quality, non-serrated knives can be a lot more expensive. (On that note, meet the Perceval 9.47.) The blade of each Opinel knife is made from a modest workhorse Swedish stainless steel, and the wood handles are constructed from durable hornbeam, a type of birchwood. These handles are by no means fancy (you could call them “rustic” if you were looking for a euphemism), but with the wide variety of colors available, they’re about 40% of why you buy these knives and proudly display them in your home.
Currently, I have purple, pink, green, and orange Table Knives. They don’t match, and that’s part of why I like them so much. They’re an extension of my (arguably, chaotic) personality. I know this, because I chose them, and whatever you do at any point in time is, inevitably, exactly the sort of thing that you would do. So if you’d like to figure out what sort of person you are today, by all means, order a custom set of Opinel Table Knives. If you pick all grey ones, that’s fine, but maybe start going for jogs and get those endorphins flowing.
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