Four Reasons to Visit the New Portland Knife House

A specialty knife store curates Japan's best cutlery and honors local makers.

By Benjamin Tepler May 26, 2015

A small fraction of the Japanese knife selection at Portland Knife House

For many home cooks, kitchen cutlery maxes out with a heavyweight Wüsthof cleaver or a polished Shun blade. If you’re really dedicated, you might even own a whetstone (knowing how to use one is a whole different animal). Enter Portland Knife House, the three-month-old knife shop and sharpening haven bringing Portland’s cutlery IQ up to par with city’s love of all things food and drink.

Portland Knife House at 2637 SE Belmont Street is run by Eyton Zias, a former New York chef—with chops at spots like Craft and La Cote Basque—with “a bit of a knife fetish.” Zias moved to Portland by way of Phoenix, where his first knife emporium quickly became the go-to destination for Arizona-based chefs. At the more curated, intimate Portland location, local chefs are already clamoring for the selection of 400-plus knives, with Earl Ninsom (Langbaan) and Top Chef star Doug Adams making regular appearances. 

Left: a pastel rainbow of whetstones for knife sharpening. Right: locally-made knives

Here are four reasons to visit right now:

Hone your edge

There are plenty of mobile sharpeners around town, but almost all use a grinding stone, guaranteed to take a serious chunk out of your precious carbon steel. Zias sharpens almost exclusively on whetstones—finely textured ceramic bars that gently hone the perfect edge. Bonus: they offer next-day service. DIY cooks can sharpen their own skills at Zias’s monthly classes.   

Stock up on Japanese steel

Zias’s preferred style of knife is thin and light, which is why he stocks almost exclusively Japanese blades. The prices range from around $75 - $4,000, with everything from universal Western-style knives divided by blade material, to single-bevel sushi knives. Expect mostly lesser-known favorites like Takeda, Misono, and Tojiro. “You are paying for quality, not advertising,” explains Zias.

Scope Out Hometown bladesmiths

PKH is the only place to find Oregon’s homegrown bladesmiths in one place. Bridgetown Forge, Murray Carter (one of America’s most coveted makers), Adam Sigal, and Oaks Bottom Forge are all accounted for, with custom knives made especially for Portland chefs. 

Fill Your Kitchen with Local everything

Beyond knives, PKH gets deep into the local maker scene. Stacks of dark walnut cutting boards from SE Portland's Deoria Made stack the windows, while custom-made aprons from bag-maker Chester Wallace ($95) and Project Runway star Michelle Lesniak ($145) hang nearby.

Portland Knife House
2637 SE Belmont St.

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