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Thread: Looking for a Yanagiba

  1. #1

    Looking for a Yanagiba

    I work in western kitchens, but do break down whole fish and would like a yanagi for butchering, skinning and portioning. I am leaning towards 270mm. Not looking to spend a ton, as I won't be using it a ton, but don't mind buying something mid range. Suggestions? Or comments on the ones below? Anything else I should look at?

    Yoshihiro in White #2 from Jon, $210

    Masamoto Kasumi in White #1 at Korin, $230

    Masamoto Hon Kasumi in White #1 at Korin, $311

    Mizuno Hon Kasumi in White #2 from Koki, $267

    Mizuno Hontanren in Blue #2 from Koki, $310

    Monzaburo Hon Kasumi in White #2 at A Frames, $214

    I don't really have a preference between White and Blue, or One and Two. I would prefer a saya and a decent handle. I might get it rehandled at some point, so it doesn't have to be perfect. I guess I would prefer to stay closer to $200, if I went over $300, I would be tempted to go a little higher and get the Shige Kasumi from A Frames for $385. Is the Masamoto Hon Kasumi worth the extra $80 over the lower Kasumi line? Korin is kinda local, so I can check these out in person.

    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  2. #2
    Go trademarked - Lots of people who got yanagibas and don't know how to use em

  3. #3
    Senior Member Salty dog's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    The only two I can speak of are the Mizuno white #2 and Masamoto KS. I'd recommend either. The Miz's fit and finish isn't spectacular but I like the steel. I prefer their blue dx but the white gets real sharp easily. And for fish the edge isn't going to take that much of a pounding.

    However I prefer to use a different knife for the skinning. Not much flex in a yanagi and the bevel kinda works against you.

  4. #4
    Senior Member EdipisReks's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Cincinnati, Oh
    i would suggest giving a 300mm a good amount of consideration, unless your kitchen is cramped. i have a Yoshihiro 300mm White #2, and it has done everything i've asked of it. admittedly i haven't asked that much of it, but i lent it to one of the sushi chefs at the Japanese restaurant a friend of mine hosts at for a week, after said chef's knife kit was stolen out of his car, and he gave it a pretty good work out with fine results. he was (and is again) an Aritsugu user, for what it's worth.

  5. #5

    ecchef's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    In the Village.
    I wouldn't use a yanagiba for the butchering part. That's deba work for sure.
    Though I could not caution all I still might warn a few; Don't raise your hand to raise no flag atop no ship of fools. - Robert Hunter

  6. #6
    I was totally unaware of this until a few weeks ago(as I have never done it) but a Deba is actually a butchery/fillet knife. A Yanagi seems only intended to cut raw fish meat that's got no bones or skin or anything.

    I've never filleted a fish with a deba myself, so I can't comment on whether or not it works better. I like the moderate flex a gyuto offers.

  7. #7
    I have a deba. I use it to do all the major butchering, and then basically once the filet is off the fish, I want a yanagi to do the rest.
    "God sends meat and the devil sends cooks." - Thomas Deloney

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by ecchef View Post
    I wouldn't use a yanagiba for the butchering part. That's deba work for sure.
    +1 I'd go for a 270mm Mioroshi Deba. That way you get the length you want , the power to break down fish bones and the sharpness you are after.


  9. #9
    Just so you know, the Masamoto is not white #1; it's white #2. You're never going to find a white #1 knife for less than $400. I would recommend the Yoshihiro from Jon, as it's cheap (so you can get your feet wet) and Jon is great to deal with. I'm sure Jon sells them cause they make great entry level knives and they probably don't need too much re-profiling work. I would NOT get the Monzaburo, as from what I've seen they're similar to Aritsugu: a royal pain in the butt to shape and profile. It's not worth the pain and suffering. I would recommend the Masamoto Kasumi as a 2nd option. Many people have said they can't tell the difference between their kasumi and honkasumi lines.

  10. #10
    Oh, and I would recommend 300mm over 270mm. If you can go to Korin and look at them, they really feel like two different animals. Much more pronounced than, say, a 24cm gyuto vs 27cm gyuto. 300mm is always the standard in yanagiba, so I think if you're going to get one, at least get what people view as the standard in yanagiba. You might be using it for sushi work one day!

    And for what it's worth, as a sushi worker, I don't use my yanagi to finish off my fillet of fish. I don't use it for any prep at all, whether it be prepping fish or whatnot. It's strictly an on-the-line-during-service type of knife for cutting fish for sushi and sashimi. I sometimes use it to skin fish (flounder in particular is a biatch to skin and I often screw it up without a deadly sharp and narrow knife), but that's about it. But don't let that deter you from getting one yourself. They're amazing tools and worth buying simply out of curiosity as long as you're not paying anything outrageous.

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