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Best steak knives for about $100?

I'm looking for a set of steak knives as a gift. It can be a pair, four, or six, as long as it's around $100. I'm only somewhat familiar with the variations in quality associated with the Laguiole name and am wary of spending too much for one of the not-so-good products. I know the recipient likes the idea of the Laguiole name, but it really doesn't HAVE to be Laguiole. The best quality for the price is most important.

If you had $100 to spend on steak knives, what would you get? Is something like this from Williams-Sonoma worth it or would I be paying for the name and the typical W-S markup?

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

Or would it be a better value to just get a set of six like these?

http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-Stra...

Or something else entirely? Thanks very much in advance.

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  1. I know some CHers like the Victorinox but just fyi, I got a set of the steak knives you linked to above, and found them not so nice from an aesthetic perspective. The tang protruded above the wood handle (i.e.,weren't flush), the wood wasn't finished that well, etc.

    But I have no doubt the knives cut well and are functional.

    1. Laguiole has a good reputation in styles and beauty. I really don't know much about steak knives. The only thing I want to point out is that many people actually do not like serrated steak knives -- not for home use anyway. The Laguiole ones you have shown are serrated.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

        Non-serrated knife will have superior performance.

        But, steak places use serrated knives because they're going to stay sharper longer than non-serrated knives given the conditions you're using them under- where you're using and cutting steak on a plate which is one of the worst things you can do to a knife.

        You wouldn't think to use a expensive Shun knife to cut exclusively on a plate, and yet that's what will happen to those steak knives. That's why as much as I'd love a Shun chef's knife, I'd never get Shun steak knives.

        Unless you know they're going to be inclined to keep the knives sharp and there's only so much you can do after all that damage to the knife, maybe a serrated knife might be the better choice despite their less than optimal performance.

      2. I have these economy range Laguioles here in the UK and they're great:

        http://www.johnlewis.com/230514898/Pr...

        Like Chem says, serrations would not have been my choice, but they were a gift and these are micro-serrations which work just fine. At about $50 for six we had no issues buying some extras and we now have a dozen knives and a dozen forks in these bright jewel colours. We mis-match the colours round the table for casual dining or stand them in a pot on the BBQ table.

        1. Laguiole is not a specific make, but a village in France that is known for the steel cutlery made there. There is a very wide range in the quality of cutlery which can use the Laguiole name. I'd bet if you looked around you could find some Laguiole knives for under $10, while others could cost 10x as much. Therefore, if you opt for Laguiole steak knives, be sure to buy them from a very reputable store. For me, I would probably opt for a well known brand such as Global, Henckel, etc.

          1. I agree with others here: avoid any serrated knife set for steaks. I personally find them unusable (but perhaps micro-serrated is not so bad--I've not tried that).

            3 Replies
            1. re: Bada Bing

              I'm not sure that all serrated steak knives need to be avoided. I have owned a set of Case serrated steak knives for at least 25 years, they have been used hundreds of times and still cut through the toughest steak as though it were butter. I always hand wash them and store them in their wooden box. They will still be doing what they were designed to do well after I'm gone. They are still available, although sans the wooden case, for about $90...see: http://www.knifecenter.com/kc_new/sto...

              Nevertheless, if I were buying steak knives today, I would probably buy those made by Global, primarily because I like the look of them. Unlike the Case knives which never need sharpening, the Globals would need to be run through my MinoSharp from time to time.

              1. re: Bada Bing

                I have straight edge knives that I keep very sharp and bust out on special occasions for guests I want to impress. Really sharp straight edge knives can actually seem to enhance a steak. But for normal usage, I keep cheap serrated steak knives.

                Frankly, I don't think straight edge steak knives make a particularly good gift unless the intended recipient has already expressed interest in such a thing. The problem - ceramic plates are awful for a knife edge. We're talking sharpening every other use or so to get any significant cutting benefit over serrated steak knives. After a little while without sharpening, they'll work significantly worse than a serrated edge treated the same way. If you don't know whether the person receiving the knives can or will sharpen them regularly, I would just play it safe with a serrated set.

                1. re: Bada Bing

                  In a lot of ways, micro-serrated steak knives are the worst of both worlds.

                  Unlike a serrated knife, they can't stand the abuse of cutting on a ceramic plate and will dull almost as quickly as a straight edge. Yet, you can't re-sharpen mico-serrated steak knives like you could with a straight edge steak knife.

                  Somebody else linked to some rosewood forschner steak knives and Cook's Illustrated selected these as their favorite, but they'll dull quickly with that straight edge. When Cook's Illustrated redoes their steak knife testing, they'll pick another winner. For personal use at home, I'd go with something more like these forschner knives:

                  http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-4879...

                  They won't win any beauty prizes, but they won't dull with those serrated edges and thus remain sharp and functional.