Is this the best Santoku knife?

Discussion in 'The Kitchen Knife' started by Bryan, Mar 16, 2012.

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  1. Mar 16, 2012 #1

    Bryan

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    I am looking for an amazing santoku knife - I currently have a Wusthof santoku that gets shaving sharp but not very attractive and a little too thick.

    I am considering either a Shun Kaji or this offering from Rutlands in the UK which has 64 layers wrapped arround a SG-2 core:

    http://www.rutlands.co.uk/knives/ki...186/micarta-hocho-santoku-all-purpose---165mm

    Any advice or other suggestions would be most welcome..
     
  2. Mar 16, 2012 #2

    Johnny.B.Good

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    Welcome to the forum Bryan.

    Are you located in the UK?

    You might check out this website if you haven't already: http://japanesechefsknife.com/default.html

    Large selection of quality knives with fast, cheap shipping around the world (and rarely a problem with customs).
     
  3. Mar 16, 2012 #3

    SameGuy

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    Is there such a thing as a good santoku?

    I got a $9 KAI PureKomachi 2 santoku for my wife; she's afraid of any blade longer than about 7" and the pink color makes her think it's "less sharp" and not too scary.
     
  4. Mar 16, 2012 #4

    DeepCSweede

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    Welcome Bryan,

    One thing you will learn quickly is that there is a defiance, loathing and general dislike of all things Santoku by many forum members. I don't have a major problem with them personally, but I also do not purchase high end Santoku's either. With that said. Perhaps you can share a little more information such as what your budget is, what type of handle you think you may want (western or wa), type of grip you use when cutting, whether or not you have any experience sharpening or not or will want to sharpen, how much care you are willing to put into a blade...
     
  5. Mar 16, 2012 #5

    DanB

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    Yeah, I don't get the santoku craze either. I'll take a gyuto every time.
     
  6. Mar 16, 2012 #6

    quantumcloud509

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    I for some odd reason have a mint condition, sharpened once Shun Granton Santoku 7" in my backpack. I used it once, then put a nicer edge on it. Its $85+ shipping to you.

    +1 im a cleaver guy myself! ;) although some stuff like cleaning 100 pounds of brussel sprouts gets annoying with cleaver, so I use gyuoto. Love all my Takeda products. Slowly gifting away all of my Wustholfs to my dishwashers and teaching them the basics.
     
  7. Mar 16, 2012 #7

    Eamon Burke

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    I'm going to be bold here.

    No. That is not the best santoku. And holy moly is it expensive.

    Check out japanese knife imports for real deal traditional stuff, but why don't you just tell us what exactly you are looking for? There is a sticky for that.

    Welcome, Bryan!
     
  8. Mar 16, 2012 #8

    NO ChoP!

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    It looks identical to the tanaka R2's I have, one being micarta as well. A tanaka R2( which is probably better than sg2) santoku would run $420ish, American...

    And they are bass$$, by the way.
     
  9. Mar 16, 2012 #9

    shankster

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    Lots of santoku hate on these boards,so I guess I'm in the minority when I say I like my santokus.I have 2.A Kasumi SS,which I got for a bargain and use as a beater,and a Moritaka #2 Blue(yes,yes I know..beware the curse of the Moritakas) I'm not endorsing either brand,but I think a santoku can be a good addition to any kit.It's small enough when you don't want to pull out the big guns and has enough blade height when a petty won't do.

    Just don't buy the ones with the grantons.
     
  10. Mar 16, 2012 #10

    TB_London

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    Welcome to the forum.

    First off, the knives rutlands have are massively overpriced, they also have a lot of half truths in their marketing spiel. Every now and then their catalogue drops through my door and they've slowly started stocking more Japanese knives but I don't think they have a clue what they are selling.
    For that kind of money you could start thinking about a custom made knife from Will Catcheside, based in Hereford and has a sub forum on this site.
    I'd recommend looking at JCK linked to by Johnny, shipping to UK is very reasonable and they have a good choice at reasonable prices.
    Any reason you chose santoku shape? A Gyuto is much more versatile and offers more choice in makers and steels.

    If you read some of the what knife threads you might find it useful to see what has been recommended before.
    Good luck and ask away with questions
     
  11. Mar 17, 2012 #11

    Shinob1

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    Give Jon at Japanese Knife Imports a call. He will get you setup. Just bought a knife from him and his service was excellent.
     
  12. Mar 17, 2012 #12

    SpikeC

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    I don't understand why a preference for one type of knife equates to hatred for another. There is too much talk of "hate" in my opinion. I have a santoku and rarely use it because other knives in my assortment work better for what I do, and would not recommend one, but that does not equate to hatred!
     
  13. Mar 17, 2012 #13

    echerub

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    I happen to like using my Watanabe santoku for some things, so I'm not against santokus. However, I'm not sure they make the best all-purpose knife... Unless you're really not comfortable with something longer than 7".
     
  14. Mar 17, 2012 #14

    shankster

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    Ok,maybe "hate " was too strong a word to use.How about "no love"? :-D
     
  15. Mar 17, 2012 #15

    SpikeC

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    That works!
     
  16. Mar 17, 2012 #16

    SameGuy

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    This. Not "hate" at all. Just (like we've read everywhere) the knife's "three virtues" actually mean "not really good at any one task."
     
  17. Mar 17, 2012 #17

    shankster

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    "Unless you're really not comfortable with something longer than 7". "

    That's what he said... sorry couldn't help myself. :)
    "However, I'm not sure they make the best all-purpose knife"
    I don't think there's one "best" all purpose knife,although the gyuto does come close..
     
  18. Mar 17, 2012 #18

    shankster

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    " The word santoku loosely translates as "three virtues" or "three tasks",a reference to the 3 cutting tasks it performs well,slicing,dicing and mincing"
     
  19. Mar 17, 2012 #19

    SameGuy

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    Except that it doesn't do any of those tasks as well as any number of other knives.

    Just like an SUV doesn't handle or ride as well as a car, nor is it as useful as a minivan or pickup truck, and it's not the cheapest vehicle to buy or to run. That's it! The santoku is the SUV of knives!
     
  20. Mar 17, 2012 #20

    NO ChoP!

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    I use Macs in my home kitchen and the santoku is my go-to. I love it, but would never use it at the job...


    And as far as Moritaka goes, I wish everyone would stop apologizing! I have had many knives pass through my kitchen in the last year from Carter to Tanaka Ironwood, and the Moritaka French gyuto has been my favorite- by a looong shot! I love it! No apologies!
     
  21. Mar 17, 2012 #21

    Crothcipt

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    At work I use my santoku cause my cutting area isn't very large to hold my gyuto. But I usually only end up cutting fried fish and some south west egg rolls. The weight on the tip end works well for getting through the crust on them.
     
  22. Mar 17, 2012 #22

    shankster

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    No apologies from me either.Love my Moritakas.I have 3, although the gyuto hasn't seen much action since I bought my Kono HD.
    That French gyuto looks like a sweet piece of steel.
     
  23. Mar 17, 2012 #23

    ThEoRy

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    Being the best santoku is like being the best C student. :D
     
  24. Mar 17, 2012 #24

    don

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    The arguement against a multipurpose knife can be applied to gyutos and chefs knives as well.

    What limits the utility of the santoku is length. But if you want a shorter knife, I don't understand what the issue is. I like the height, which facilitates moving of chopped or sliced product.
     
  25. Mar 17, 2012 #25

    jaybett

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    Welcome to the forum.

    For whatever reason or reasons, there seems to be a bias against any knife on the forum that isn't a gyuto. The typical question asked by the gyuto fan boys is why do you want that knife? They also will follow up with a statement, that the gyuto can do everything that knife can, plus more.

    A vegetable cleaver, does a better job of chopping, then a gyuto. A sujihiki is a better slicer then a gyuto. So why doesn't everybody drop their gyutos and pick a vegetable cleaver and a sujihiki? The gyuto is an all around knife that can do 90 percent of the cuts, more or less needed in a kitchen. Of all the Asain knives, the gyuto is one of the easiest knives for westerners to use.

    How much cutting is needed i.e. production, plus the type of cuts, are the key factors in deciding what type of knife to pick up. If you are cooking for yourself or your family and hardly ever cook for a party or function, then any type of knife from a nakiri to a santoku, to a gyuto will work.

    Most of us on the forums, are serious home cooks, besides cooking for ourselves, we volunteer dishes or our time to help out various functions from family to work. This brings up the issue of production. A longer knife will be more productive then a shorter one. Santokus in general are short knifes, usually 165mm-190mm. Gyutos come in various lengths but the popular sizes are 210mm, 240mm, and 270mm.

    The rest of the forum members work in the food industry, so their main criteria is going to be production.

    My first Japanese knife was a santoku. I think its most peoples gateway into Japanese knives. I really liked the santoku, it did all the cuts I wanted on small to medium fruits and vegetables, and smaller cuts of meat, such as chicken breast. The wide blade of a Santoku is a nice feature. It's like a built in edge guard, because its harder to inadvertently cut yourself with a wide blade, then a skinny one. The wide blade makes for easy garlic peeling, clearing the board is a snap. The main drawback of a santoku is lack of production.

    A santoku paired up with a sujihiki would make a nice combination for a home cook who occasionally has a party. Hmm this also might be a good travel option. This combination would probably satisfy 80 percent of my needs. I'm appreciating more and more the speed and convenience of smaller knives. When it comes to making a large batch of salsa, I reach for a vegetable cleaver, but for most everything else a santoku would be fine.

    Another knife that is often over looked is the nakiri. With its relatively flat edge, and thin blade, it is probably the top choice for a dedicated vegetable knife. It can easily do all the cuts from fine dice to brunoise. The flat edge of a 180mm nakiri, can be just as long, if not longer then a 240mm gyuto. Plus it is one of the easiest knives to sharpen. While its strength is vegetables, its weakness would be proteins. People do use it on meat, but the lack of a pointed tip is a drawback.

    A nice kit would be a nakiri, petty, and sujihiki, for the home cook.

    If you are like most of us, a home cook, who loves to cook, then a gyuto will probably end up being the right choice for you.

    Jay
     
  26. Mar 17, 2012 #26

    ThEoRy

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    The clumsy shape of its tip is limiting as well.
     
  27. Mar 17, 2012 #27

    jaybett

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    Oh here we go, another bias, from the Gyuto Glee Club. This is there typical response to people who are thinking about picking up a cleaver or nakiri. It doesn't have a tip. Those considering santokus, the tip is limited or clumsy. I don't get the glee clubs fascination with tips?

    Jay
     
  28. Mar 17, 2012 #28

    ThEoRy

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    Kind of, but there's more to the story.

    It was originally marketed towards young Japanese housewives around 1930s-1950ish when western food started becoming popular in Japan as the hip new western knife that was capable of handling meat, fish and veggies. Therefore three virtues. "Hey ladies, wanna be hip and cool and eat like like westerners? Then you need this new knife. You don't need specialized knives like deba, yanagiba and usuba anymore when this one knife does it all!!"

    So there's actually 3 sets of "three virtues". Slice, dice, mince. Meat, fish, veg. And Deba, yanagi, usuba. This ************* knife has 9 ************* virtues yall! Buy this **** now!

    What do I see there? Marketing talk. Nothing more. And now we've come full circle here in the West. "Wanna have cool Japanese knives ladies? You need a santoku!" That's where I see a lot of the disdain towards this knife coming from as well. The marketing backlash.

    All that being said, I have two santoku. Do I take them to work in my kit and use them? No.
     
  29. Mar 17, 2012 #29

    ThEoRy

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    Not a biased opinion, it's fact. Please don't place me in any group either. I like cleavers alright and they have their place as prep monsters. Nakiri have qualities which make them great performers too. What about santoku makes it great? What one thing can it do better than all the other knives? Or better than any one knife?...............

    P.S. I have 2 santoku. Neither one of them are great at anything.
     
  30. Mar 17, 2012 #30

    Vertigo

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    You seriously don't understand why a tip is useful?
     

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