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Where to buy a Chef's Knife in LA or SGV?

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Hi all,

I searched for this topic and found some good info but was hoping for a little more. I already checked out Surfas but would like to try a few more Japanese knives before I settle on one. I'm looking for a Chef's knife, maybe a Santuka, and probably a new paring knife. This will be the first time I buy a really good knife so all I really have to go on is the knives I've tried so far. I think I'll end up buying a Japanese knife because so far I like a lighter handle. Not Global light but not as heavy as a Messermeister (or the other German knives I've tried).

I want to take a trip either downtown or to the SGV this weekend to try some more knives. I'd be happy to go somewhere else too if it's worth the trip. I'll probably go in to Anzen Hardware if I go downtown. Also-- is Mutual Trading Co. an actual store I can go into? I remember hearing there were some Markets in SGV that carried knives but I can't remember which ones.

I'd love any suggestions of shops to go to and also brands of knives to try. Thanks in advance for your help.

Best, NJR

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  1. There's a store in downtown called Ross Cutlery. It's been there since about forever, in the historic Bradbury building (reason enough to go).

    http://www.rosscutlery.com/

    1. Well, if you go to SGV, there's a good selection of butcher-type knives at Hawai'i Supermarket (SE corner of Valley/Del Mar).

      1. Sur la table in Pasadena has a nice selection of knives and pretty decent prices for being Sur la table. As for Global knives, I have the 8" and 10" chef's knives and they have pretty good heft. Global's other non-chef's knives can be pretty light. In fact I bought a 7" veg slicer knife or something like that and it is way too light. I never use it. Of course I bought all kinds of knives I really did not need because I was a little enthusiastic. Good chef's knife, good filet knife and good bread knife is all you really need. Oh and it is fun to have a cleaver just for shock value, and sectioning chicken.

        1. Le Sanctuaire in santa monica has the best selection that I've seen of japanese knives.
          the owner is very knowlegable and quietly friendly.
          www.le-sanctuaire.com

          1. I take my knives to Ross Cutlery (mentioned above) for sharpening. Go early, as parking is difficult. It's a great store, and they're very knowledgable. I bought one of those new diamond knife steels there (Henkels), and love it. My knives are Wustof Grand Prix, they fit my hand perfectly.

            Also as mentioned above, Sur La Table has a good variety for you to check out.

            Note on Santoku knives: there's the regular edge and there's the hollow edge. The hollow edge is slightly more expensive and supposedly what you're cutting won't stick to the knife. But that's not true at all. I have a Wustof hollow edge one and everything sticks just as if it were a regular edge. But I love my Santoku, use it the most.

            1. In knives as in food, I generally prefer individually handmade items to mass produced factory products. Custom knives are often made with better steel, show greater attention to detail, and are more aesthetically pleasing. Surprisingly, they do not always cost more than factory-made knives, partly, because you're not paying a substantial markup for several sets of middlemen.

              If owning a custom made kitchen knife has some appeal, you might want to visit the Plaza Cutlery Custom Knife Show on October 7th and 8th at the Huntington Beach Hilton Waterfront Beach Resort. (See www.plazacutlery.com or call (714) 549.3932 for more info.) Not sure who all is selling there this year, but the last time I went, they had a couple of Japanese smiths selling absolutely beautiful handmade chef's knives for what I thought were reasonable prices.

              3 Replies
              1. re: David Kahn

                David, is this the show that used to be held at the Ontario Convention Hall? I went a few years ago on your recommendation, and I thought it was very worthwhile. More hunting blades than kitchen blades, but that's par for the custom knife world.

                1. re: David Kahn

                  Hi David, Can you give me an idea of what the prices were for these knives? I looked at the website and it seems like there's only one or two japanese knife makers (recognizable by name). That said I would certainly buy a custom knife from an American knife maker. Do you thinks it's worth the drive and the $20 it would cost to get in (ticket plus parking) if I'm only interested in kitchen knives? Thanks.

                  1. re: njr

                    The Plaza Cutlery show is relatively new, and is, I think, an effort to fill the gap left by the Blade Magazine show that moved from So. Cal. to Portland Oregon a couple of years back. Not sure how many of the knife makers at this show will be doing kitchen cutlery. Might be a good idea to call Plaza Cutlery and ask them. A couple of years back, at a show in Orange County, I remember there was a European knife smith who had gone to Japan, studied, and finally taken over a village smithy/knife maker's shop. (I think he might have been Dutch?) Anyway, I thought he did really nice work, and his prices were reasonable; in the $100 to $250 range.

                    As for pricing, here's a website that sells custom made knives: http://www.bladegallery.com/shopdispl... . The prices are a bit higher than what I've generally seen at local shows, but, of course, they probably have to pay the website something.

                    If you go to the show, you'll have a better chance of negotiating prices down if you go on Sunday rather than Saturday. (Folks don't want to pack stuff up and take it home.) On the other hand, the selection may not be as good.

                2. Everyone, please keep your suggestions focused on where to find knives in the L.A. region. You'll find lots of threads discussing knives over on the Cookware board, which is the appropriate place to compare Brand A to Brand B.

                  Cookware board is here:
                  http://www.chowhound.com/boards/show/41

                  1. For Japanese knives, try Marukai on Azusa Ave in West Covina

                    1. i haven't been impressed with any of the japanese knives i've seen here in town (though, granted, i haven't been to sanctuaire). sometimes you can find MAC stuff, which is good quality for the price. but if you want really good stuff, you'll have to buy on the internet. check out http://www.korin.com/knife.php for the most complete (though not the most inexpensive) selection of japanese knives.

                      1. I've seen a small selection of MAC and Kasumi knives (in addition to the usual Euro brands) at Surfas in Culver City. For my fellow OC'ers, a new restaurant supply shop in Fountain Valley stocks a selction of MAC, Masahiro, and Kasumi knives (also Messermeister, Forschner, and others). It's located across Talbert Ave from the Costco.

                        2000 Plus
                        11210 Talbert Ave
                        Fountain Valley

                        I'd also recommend you check out Plaza Cutlery as David Kahn mentioned. They're in the South Coast Plaza, nearSears, across from McDonald's.

                        1. "I want to take a trip either downtown or to the SGV this weekend to try some more knives."

                          If you do find yourself in the SGV on Saturday, be sure to check out Action Sales. They're a restaurant supply store, so their stuff is pretty straight-forward, no frills. But, you may find something worthwhile...

                          http://actionsales.com/
                          Saturday 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
                          .
                          .

                          1. While you won't find them in retail stores, I stand by my Cutco knives. Had them since college (cooking classes), and they are still my #1 choice. They are sold online, but you'll always get a better deal by working thru an individual sales person. If you find yourself interested in purchasing, I'll pass along his name.

                            3 Replies
                            1. re: pizookie75

                              We cook major meals every night and have a complete set of Wusthof knives; we also have several other good knives. HOWEVER, my favorite is always the CUTCO knives. I especially love their serrated knives, both the bread knife and the smaller (about 7") one. They also have a very good kitchen scissors.

                              We have had the Cutco knives for several years now and they are still very sharp!

                              1. re: pizookie75

                                Cutco knives are simply not in the same league as Henckels, Wusthof, Shun, etc. They are decent knives but rediculously high-priced for what you get. Take a look at this review:

                                http://www.cookingforengineers.com/ar...

                                and this one:

                                http://www.discusscooking.com/forums/...

                                1. re: Chuy

                                  I use Wusthof and Cut Co. knives and both have kept their sharpness (using a diamond sharpener), have a great feel and overall have preformed very well considering I cook a lot.

                              2. if you go to the south bay, be sure to check out:

                                Thee Cutlery • Manhattan Village • 3200 Sepulveda Blvd. Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 • 310 545-5718

                                1. Thanks everyone! This is really helpful. I may take David's advice and hold out for the knife show (because I think it would be an interesting experience). I will definitely check out some of these other stores though.

                                  Thanks, NJR

                                  1. Anzen Hardware, 1st and San Pedro downtown.

                                    1. Would strongly recommend Ross Cutlery. Excellent selection, good prices, and extremely knowledgeable staff. Got a great set of Spanish stainless steel similiar to Global at half the price. Have used them every day and have never regretted the purchase. A side bit of trivia: OJ bought his knives there.

                                      1. Save yourself a lot of money by going on the internet and googling Forschner Knives. Their Victorinox Chef's knife is a 10 inch, very light, and is the recommended knife of chice by America's Test Kitchen over ALL of the other big brand names. And get their 3-1/2 inch paring knife at the same time. You won't be sorry.

                                        1. Mutual Trading carries masamotos and aritsugus, sounds like one of the very few if not the only one on LA. There's an annual show in Oct where they have fairly good discounts

                                          http://www.lamtc.com/seminar/restshow...

                                          1. Star Restaurant Equipment in Van Nuys on Sepulveda Blvd. sells some pretty decent knives at a pretty decent price. They dont have a whole lot but they have most of the bells and whistles you need. Its open to the public and if you're are a working chef they give you a bit of a discount.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: chillidog

                                              I bought my Henkle knives at Star several years ago. Their prices were much much lower than any of the other retail stores in town.

                                            2. Ross Cutlery rocks. More selection than any other place mentioned here. Good prices too. I got a 9-1/2" Henckels Twin Cermax M-66 (Japanese-style) chef's knife there. (You can see what it looks like here: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000...) Love. It.

                                              1. if you are left-handed, be aware that kershaw shun makes left-handed knives.
                                                avail online from chef's resource.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: westsidegal

                                                  i personally like japanese knives. if you were to purchase any, i'd go with kikuichi or masahiro. shun and global are american-ized japanese knives that are too heavy and too light in respective order. furthermore, shun blades are from japan, yet are manufactured in the USA by the Kershaw company. a co-worker of mine has had the handles of his shun knives come lose on occasion. yes, japanese knives are more tensil and prone to chipping
                                                  (if you dont take care of them). but to me, they're better than german knives that go dull faster than japanese knives due to their malleable characteristics.

                                                2. I have owned many 'name" brand knives over the years. They are nice, still I advise against expensive chef's knives. Yes, you get what you pay for, to a certain extent, but if you go into any professional kitchen you'll see plenty of plastic handled knives of the type you can find at Surfas.

                                                  1. I realize that it's not of the quality that the OP is seeking, but for the bargain hunters out there, I got a 'fine for me' Calphalon chef's knife at Marshall's yesterday for $16.