While all the big-picture elements of a Barclay Prime meal always resonate with diners — the exclusive chops, the well-versed staff, the crafty cocktails, India Mahdavi’s breathtaking room — there is one smaller aspect of the dining experience that Barclay’s guests always seem particularly excited to share with others.

“I hear you’re going to Barclay Prime. Did you know you get to pick your own steak knife?” When guests order a steak, servers visit the table brandishing a glinting lineup of apparati laid out on a tray, like battle-tested weapons at the ready. After a run-down of the details on each option — there can be as many as seven knives to choose from — the diners get to select which knives will work best for them.

“Because we are such a menu-driven steakhouse, having a choice of steak knives is completely apropos,” explains service manager Jennifer McKenna. “It makes sense, and yet it offers that sort of kitsch, fun experience. And we have a great selection.”

Indeed they do. Chroma knives, manufactured with high- grade steel, are popular with professional chefs; the Global brand, also out of Japan, is known for its ideal handling, and is often compared to a mini samurai sword based on its sleek approach and balance. Germany’s Wusthof Culinar knives, forged from a single piece of high-carbon stainless steel, boast a unique curved blade ideal for thicker cuts of meat. Modern knifemakers like Furitechnics Ltd. out of Australia have a place alongside venerable artisans like France’s Laguiole, which has produced quality knifeware since the 19th century.

While it’s to easy get swept up in more minute details of Barclay’s heavy metal—bonus: The Kershaw Shun’s D-shaped handle makes it useable by both righties and southpaws—the restaurant understands that the knives are ultimately a means to a delicious end.
Barclay Prime’s selection of steak knives
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