I have heard the injunction numerous time before, the reminder from every chef, celebrity chef and food "personality" to keep knives sharpened and sharp.
To be honest, I never thought much of it. Sure, it made good common sense and I can certainly see the wisdom of it, but it just never clicked for me. I have been going about my business with the knives we have -- and it seemed to me too that there was nothing that wrong with them. The knives cut when I need them to cut.
Suffice it to say that I have never known the pleasures of a truly sharp knife until I got the chance to use this New West knife.
New West KnifeWorks Phoenix Santoku (Cocobolo handle)
I first tried it to slice some onions -- and whoa!
Hey, slicing onions seem to be so much easier with this knife. Usually with what I have realized to be our horrendously dull knives, just getting the tops off onions requires a couple of grunts and, on some occasions, a couple of curses. The process from slicing the top off, to peeling the paper off the onions, to chopping them up finely seem to be pretty much painless.
I also used our New West knife to butcher three chickens. With our old knives, this task usually takes me more than half an hour to do. With the New West knife, the chickens were in parts in less about 15 minutes, ready for their next incarnation. The chicken carcasses were in the pot to ba made into stock.
A sharp knife does make a difference. I finally got it.
We used this knife to do all sorts of standard chopping and slicing tasks. Slicing through little rind-y key limes, chopping leafy greens...
...slicing beef, and cutting hard vegetables like cabbage.
Here are a couple of random thoughts.
The New West KnifeWorks Phoenix Santoku is quite lightweight with a much thinner blade, very different from a standard chef's knife. If you use a chef's knife, the Phoenix Santoku's almost-weightlessness may take a little bit of getting used to. On the other hand, it is a much friendlier knife to use for most people because it is so lightweight.
The blade of this particular knife is also shorter than the blade of a chef's knife. It's great for most purposes, but probably a little too small for some tasks, for example, cutting up a watermelon or a pumpkin.
The handle is also quite long compared to the blade. At times, the end of the handle would hit my forearm as I used the knife. Again, alternatively, there were comments in the household that the longer handle was much easier to use. (Perhaps it's just me, then; although, I don't think I have particularly short hands.)
All in all, this knife was great to use. I would compare it to a vegetable knife (such as the Global vegetable knife we have in possession). However, it does work as an all-purpose knife, with a few exceptions such as if one were to tackle a very big item, or for butchering large pieces of meat or cutting through bone.
JS and I would like to thank New West KnifeWorks for giving us the opportunity to get our hands on (literally!) one of their beautiful knives! It is quite a lovely addition to our kitchen.
New West KnifeWorks website
About the Phoenix Granton-Santoku Knife
[ No Recipes ] has a great knife comparison post: The Great Knife Off
What's Cooking also has reviews of New West knives:
Super Bread Knife
Making Chopping Easy
I love this pattern!