Most restaurants you go to have your silverware rolled inside of a napkin, and all you do is unroll your napkin and dump all your silverware onto the table. However, if you’ve ever been to a really nice restaurant, the silverware is usually set out for you. When you sit down, you could see up to three forks, a couple knives, and even a few spoons. All of different sizes. It can be quite overwhelming. You could end up asking yourself, “Why are there so many forks and knives on the table?,” and “Where should I start?”
If you have ordered an appetizer, a salad, a soup, an entrée, and dessert, you’ll need different forks, knives, and spoon to eat each one.
Appetizers and salads usually need smaller forks than your main entrée. This is usually because your main entrée is larger than your appetizer and salad.
Your soup spoon is also different from, let say, your dessert spoon. The soup spoon is obviously larger.
Also, a butter knife is also different from a steak knife. A butter knife usually sits on your bread plate (to your left) and has small, if no serrations, and has a larger flat head. The lack of serration is due to the fact that butter can be cut without a sawing motion, and the larger flat head is for spreading. A steak knife, on the other hand, has deeper serrations so as to better cut a large piece of meat with.
My rule of thumb? When in doubt, just start from the outside and work yourself in.