Help Choose New Japanese Chef's Knife
I'm a line cook and just recently started at a Japanese Restaurant. My 8" Global is too short and also just isn't good enough to get the job done, even after being sharpened.
Here is what I'm choosing between:
Misono UX10: Swedish stainless, rust-resistant, easy to sharpen
- Thickness: 2mm
- Weight: 275g
- Hardness: 59-60
Ryusen Blazen: Powdered Steel, Damascus
- Thickness: 3mm
- Weight: 315g
- Hardness: 61-63
Hattori HD: VG10 & Nicken Damascus, Stainless, High Carbon
- Thickness: 3mm
- Weight: 310g
- Hardness: 60-61
Masamoto VG: High carbon & Molybdenum/Vanadium
- Thickness: 2.5mm
- Weight: 287g
- Hardness: 60
Nenohi Karin: Stain Resistant & High Carbon Steel Pressed Wood Handle
- Hardness: 60-61
- Ease of Sharpening, Performance
You can't go wrong with any of those choices. I assume you are looking at 240-270mm gyutos. The Nenox Karin a a beautiful knife but is it worth the difference in $?
Are you going to be doing your own sharpening? Some of these steels are harder to sharpen than others. Also is the care the same. An all stainless is easy to care for. A carbon clad in stainless with a carbon edge will require more care and a full carbon steel knife will require the most care.
A 270mm 3mm thick knife like a Hatorri or Blazen will be bit heavier than the thinner knives.
Really decide if you want to go 240mm or 270mm and what you can afford to spend. Really all are top of the line knives
I don't think any are really carbon or stainless-clad carbon.
If that interests you, the Hiromoto AS is a little less expensive and has the carbon steel clad with stainless. The last little bit at the edge will patina (or rust if not cared for). They get high marks from a lot of folks.
FYI, it also looks like most vendors are about to jack up their prices due to the poopy position of the dollar against the yen.
I will be doing my own sharpening, and am looking for 270mm (10.6 in.) knife so that it can double up as a sujihiki or slicing knife if needed. I really haven't gotten any feedback on the Masamoto yet. I think the weight issue is a big factor for me though, and I'm not that interested in full carbon at this point. Anyone know at what point on the Rockwell scale chipping becomes an issue, or is that mostly based on the steel type?
I'll try a knife forum in the meantime.
These Hattori FH, JCK (Japanese Chefs Knife) series look very interesting. I'd love to get one in my hands to try.
I had a chipping problem with my Al Mar VG-10 when I first got it, but then after a couple of sharpenings, I never had the problem again. I remember a thread not long ago of a similar out of the box problem with some Shun. I know that Japanese knives are not fully sharpened out of the factory and it is expected that you will take it to a stone before using - perhaps there is a shipping issue or a kind of final tempering that occurs with usage and sharpening - in any case, if there is some chipping problems right off the bat, I'd say, sharpen it and continue to use it, and see if the problem goes away. In any case, whatever the steel, I wouldn't be chopping bones or cutting on a hard board, like bamboo.
As the steel becomes harder it becomes more brittle but that is also a factor of the type of steel and how it was formed, heated and cooled. I have heard some people complain of the Hattori HD chipping but the chipping was micro in nature and easily sharpened out. I had mentioned the carbon steel choice only as food for thought since they are often priced lower and can be wicked sharp and can hold the edge. These days I think many stainless can claim the same attributes as well as being easy to care for.
Post your message at these two forums for a lot of first hand feedback
I've got a UX-10 and love it (not a professional chef by any stretch of the imagination, though), but haven't tried any of the others mentioned here. Obviously, the best solution would be to go to Korin in NY and try them all (at the least, Korin should be able to give you good advice over the phone; they do have a limited return policy, so if you can narrow it down, maybe they'll even send you a few to get a feel for them). If there's somewhere that sells them in SF, or if you can find someone who uses one of the ones you're thinking of getting and is willing to let you try it out, that would be good. You'll get some feedback if you post on a knife forum, but ultimately, these are all great knives, and the differences mostly come down to feel, ease of maintenance, and personal preference, so given the amount of money you're dropping on these, you really should try and feel the knife in person.
The UX-10 factory edge has a micro-bevel on one side, so while it's not as hard as the other, it's still a little tricky to sharpen IMO.
Have you looked at / considered Suisin at all?
All of the blades you have chosen are very worthy candidates indeed. I have been using a masamoto vg-10 blade now for almost two years and it has been a workhorse. I do not recommend cutting crusty bread or very hard fruits(quince) with this knife at first. The blades are more brittle than your used to. The hattori is a very comfortable knife and heavier, which is appealing to many people. I have used an 8" version and was very happy with it. The misono is a workhorse as well, very sharp. The blade with the dimpled edge is very nice. It doesn't stick to things like tuna, starchy potatoes and cucumbers as easily. If anyone you work with has any of these blades see if they will let you hold it, the feel is very important!
If you're moving from a true 8" knife, you might want to at least check out the 240 size knives as well--I have the Misono UX10, and I've used it as a slicer many times. While I like it a lot, there are a couple things that I've noticed: the handle is much larger than other comparable Japanese 240s. That might be good if you find the Global handle uncomfortable (like me), but may be too much of a leap if you like the Global. It's great to be able to pick it up. Also, while not too hard to sharpen on a decent whetstone, I don't think the Misono holds an edge as long as some others I've tried.
If you just want to try a Japanese knife, I might look at the Togiharu Molybdenum line. The 240 Guytou is only $66 at Korin. They are pretty cheap, and I really like the one knife I have of theirs--a petty. It's really thin and sharp as a razor out of the box.