The issue with knuckle clearance is the primary reason I extended the choil area on my Carter when I rehandled it. I like a slightly beefier handle, but sometimes this can lead to problems in other areas. By extending the exposed tang a bit, I have given myself room for my fat, multiple times dislocated/sprained/broken fingers to go where they feel comfortable.
In a roundabout way, I'm suggesting that a wa handle with a long choil area and a machi might solve the problem for you guys. Just a thought.
whenever im on the line i have two knives, a 270mm bread knife (tojiro ITK) and either a 240mm gyuto or a 270mm fillet/suji. i just keep them either on the top of the late shelves with spices or on the very back of the board against the coolers. i dont really see the need for a compact knife, whatever is comfortable to use. and anyway for slicing you want a longer knife. i really hate the different stroke marks in meat, its a pet peeve. ive been using my suji more, but the blades too thin and hurts my finger (the spine actualy cut me the first time i used it), and have been looking into the Misono UX10 suji. thats what id recommend as a line knife, long and thin.
Anyine know what the profile is like on the Sakai Yusuke? Lots of belly? It looks to have more belly than some of the other choices.
During prep hours I have my 270 gyuto out but during service anything above 210 is just too big in such a confined space. It's not impossible to do, just impractical in my tiny bubble of a station. Maybe its easiest to decide what size knife is suitable based on the size of the boards on the line. We only have a few tiny boards on ours.
I can sorta see the buzz about 210 suji/petty; honestly it seems like a bit of a fad. For me it appeals only as a "cool knife". It's too short for some tasks, too long for others. It seems like a good line knife if space is tight and your doing mostly in-hand work and slicing. The height of the blade, or lack there of, makes for little knuckle clearance and a small area for scooping things up with. With the narrow blade I catch my thumb on the heel and cut myself when using it for in-hand work - but that's a personal issue that I'm working through. Lots of guys like 'em, so hey, great!
Saying that, I think the Sakai Yusuke 210 gyuto - wa or yo - is a good option 'cuz it doesn't have depth of most "normal" 210 gyutos. The height of the blade seems proportional to the length - it's slightly taller than their suji, but not as tall as a 240 gyuto. This looks like a good GF knife as well as a good multi-purpose utility knife for me. For you guys that haven't used a Yusuke white #2, I find that the steel isn't highly reactive. It takes a good patina and I've never had rust problems even when cutting citrus and intentionally leaving it wet and not wiping it off.
addendum to above: according to BWJ's info, the 210 yo-gyuto is 2.3mm spine @ heel, the 210 wa-gyuto is 2.2mm spine @ heel, and 210 wa-suji is 2mm spine @ heel.