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Apr 20, 2008 03:48 PM

Is there any PHX merchant who would let customers try knives before buying?

My temporary (almost 10 years old) cheapos have *finally* deteriorated (thank goodness) to the point where I can justify purchasing nice new ones... The problem is which one(s). After perusing endless reviews and opinions, and doing the touch test at Williams Sonoma; I'm still balking at taking the plunge and purchasing because buying knives you haven't tried is like trying to buy running shoes without trying them out (to me at least)...

So my question: is it just wishful thinking, or is there a cookware store in the valley who would be so nice as to let me try the blades out before buying?

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  1. We were at Sweet Basil at Scottsdale and Shea a few weeks ago and they had just finished a knife skills class with Wustof knives. You might give them a try.

    1. I would check with Eytan at the Phoenix Knife House (now moved to McDowell & Miller). He's super cool (gave us a bunch of free sharpening for our old Wusthofs when we bought knives there), super knowledgeable, super helpful and super nice.

      I'd also buy my knives there. He's converted us to the Japanese chef's knives. They're awesome. The Wusthof's just sit in the block now. They can also be super affordable (cheaper than they normal Germans) though you can also go high end for some beautiful pieces if you are of that mind. If you have a price range, Eytan will help direct you within that without trying to upsell you a tiny bit.

      His site is:
      (480) 946-2758

      3 Replies
      1. re: ccl1111

        Yes, go to Phoenix Knife House first. Have Eytan show you the Misono UX10 - it's a fantastic knife. He also has a variety of other knives you won't see elsewhere, and many can be had for a very good price point.

        Another thing I just discovered is that Arizona Cutlery carries open stock F. Dick - I'm not sure what lines they carry or what they could special order, but their commercial lines intended for the pros are outrageously good values and very comfortable knives.

        1. re: ccl1111

          I would echo the recomendation for Phoenix Knife House. Eytan will definately let you try anything, and will also make some great recomendations (based on what you really need, not what will make him the most money). This store is a treasure, and we are lucky to have it (and need to support it!).

          Check the boards for more information about this store, as there are tons of positive reviews.

          I am glad he has a new location. The old one was kind of bad.

          1. re: ccl1111

            Another nod toward Eytan and the Knife House. As mentioned a real gem of a place we're lucky to have here in town. He'll spend a lot of time explaining the differences in all the knives and let you play with them as long as you like. I bought a Masahiro last year from him and the next time I was in he was sure to ask how I liked it and made it clear he was there to help if I didn't like it( I have to admit I'd never stick him with a return though as his pricing is so low... plus he's such a great guy and so willing to share his knowledge and expertise).

            I haven't been to his new location but an approaching birthday is a good excuse to add a 270mm gyuto to the knife case as well as good excuse to visit the new location so I think I"ll stop in soon. If you have never been there take the time to visit before you purchase anything.

            If you're looking for german knives the big retailers have good return policies(with those policies built into the pricing) so you'll have an easy time exchanging for something you like better if you stick with one of them.

          2. I imagine that Kitchen Classics (at 40th & Thomas) would let you test-drive knives too. They tend to carry only a few brands, and I don't know which those are, but you could call or check their website.

            1. Perfect. Knife House it is... Good thing I was primarily looking for an Asian 6"-ish vegetable-slicing knife.

              Already having a monster Henkels and an old Wustof, I am familiar with them but rather annoyed at the way the vegetables get suctioned to the blade side when slicing

              3 Replies
              1. re: oryza

                I have a 150mm hollow-ground santoku I purchased from there for about $50. It's a very good knife, but my primary complaint is that it is nearly impossible to hone with my Henckels' steel. It did not need any maintenance for several months, but now that it has dulled significantly, I find it very hard to use. I need to go back and have it sharpened, and find out how best to maintain it.

                1. re: azhotdish

                  when we brought our wusthofs in to get sharpened, turns out my steel was WAY wrong for the Japanese knives. my wusthof steel was super aggressive and not very compatible. turns out the one eytan recommended was a ceramic I already had. been going well since then.

                2. re: oryza

                  Eytan actually has a top 3 recommendation, 1 of which is a Masahiro chef's knife, 1 of which is a smaller hollow ground thin bladed knife (maybe named a petty?? and I think a Fujiwara??) and the las being a paring knife.

                  The first knife we bought for ourselves was the petty? We use that every day.

                  Sounds like it might be exactly what you're looking for.