Santoku Madness...

sweenAugust 21, 2004

Okay, how about some help here. The big question I have, at least at this very moment before I visit a BB&B with a discount coupon, is this: Do I REALLY need a Santoku? If so, why? If not, why not? Are they actually the greatest thing since canned beer? Or are they just one more trendy and snobby thing I could very easily live without? I know knives and brands, so what I'm after is your thoughts on the style itself. Thanks for any input here, it is really appreciated...

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blazedog

I just bought a Wusthof Santuko and it's very nice -- but anything would be very nice since I was upgrading from Chicago.

I don't think it's more functional than a chef's knife frankly although I find the slightly smaller size more comfortable for me as I am a smallish woman :)

I have the hollow Santoku and food sticks just as much as with a regular knife. I am thinking of returning it for either a regular Santoku or a good chef's knife as I am somewhat worried about the upkeep of the hollow Santokus.

Most of my prep work is dicing vegetables and it's wonderful for that -- slices onions, tomatoes and dices red peppers with incredible ease but again, I think a good chef's knife would do the same. I have limited storage space in my kitchen so I personally wouldn't want both a Santoku and a chef's knife since they seem to have the same functionality -- at least for my mid level gourmet cooking skills :)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2004 at 7:22PM
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sunnyco

I have not used a santuko but I have several sizes of chef's knifes and I think if I had to choose only one I would choose the 8" chef's knife. I think the point on them comes in really handy sometimes and I would end up laying a santuko aside in favor of something with a sharp point more often.

My 6" chef's knife gets lots of use too.

That said, I will eventually end up with a santuko becuase I am knife-crazy. Maybe I will change my tune after that...but I doubt it.

Sunny

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 9:24AM
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steve_o

I do sometimes wish I had a second chef's knife (when I need to cut veggies and my knife is coated with raw chicken), so perhaps a santoku would be desireable as a somewhat-different second knife. But I don't think there's anything I could do with a santoku that I could not do with my chef's knife.

That wasn't much help, was it? :-)

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 1:05PM
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sween

Actually, yes, thanks to everyone, it is a lot of help, because so far my own feelings have been somewhat confirmed. A santoku might be a nice novelty addition to the kitchen, but there's nothing it does that a chef's won't do. I guess it's the power of the medium; you see some television chefs using a santoku, and you figure you're missing something if you don't have one.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2004 at 1:29PM
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haroldp

For Santoku vs Chef, I think a Santoku does a little better on veggies and a Chef a little better on meat. However both work fine for either.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 2:10AM
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jhart3

If I could choose only one chef's knife, it would be my Kasumi Santuko knife. That's over the other chef's knifes in the collection:
1-10" wustof classic
1-8" global chefs
1-10" kasumi chef

It might seem weird to have so many of similar form, yet each has areas where it excells and they are a life's collection.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2004 at 9:45PM
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Twinkledome

I salivated over a Kai Santoku Shun. (I refer to it as Honorable Japanese knife) It is absolutely a beautiful knife. The layers of steel in the blade are honed so that it looks like Peau de Soie. (Watermarked Silk). I love the feel of the handle in my hand. I fits so well and is extremely well balanced. I have used my husband's Wilkenson Sword Chef's knife for 12 years and thought I would really be improving. Well, I switch back and forth and actually, can tell very little difference in the cutting process between the two. I keep one on one counter and one on another counter for ergonomic reasons.

I don't think I would ever again pay that much for a knife, but, of course, now I don't need to.

The Santoku Shun will be in my Last Will and Testament.

    Bookmark   August 26, 2004 at 2:23AM
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woodie2

Wow, Twinkledome, I only wish that I could be remembered in your will!

I purchased a Wusthof Gourmet Santoku online (middle of the road knife, not very expensive) because I loved the way Rachael Ray used hers:) I have to say I have not regretted the purchase for one single moment. I have a wonderful Chef's Knife but the Santoku is lighter (I'm also a smaller sized woman with small hands) and at first I found that a little strange, but I came to LOVE the way it feels in my hands. I really reach for it first, over my chef's knife. It feels like an extension of my own hands are doing the slicing and chopping, not the knife. It just feels good!

Phew, this sounds like an infomercial:)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2004 at 11:28PM
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blazedog

FWIW, I just returned my Wusthof Santoku hollow blade -- loved the way it cut but found that it was difficult to keep the little indentations clean - for some reason schmootz was accumulating whereas my flat blade knifes were clean by swiping with a sponge under hot water.

I still like the slightly smaller size but would probably opt for a smaller chef's knife or a Santoku without the indents.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2004 at 11:17PM
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woodie2

Interesting problem, Blazedog. That hasn't happened to me, I wonder why yours would be so different.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 12:10PM
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blazedog

Woodie -- I don't know -- I didn't really notice it until I was REALLY cleaning it to return to Bloomies :)

I do like the Santoku a lot though -- noticed the difference in slicing with my old chef's knife which I just had professionally sharpened this week. Because the Santoku blade is so much thinner, it really glided through the veggies -- and I really liked the smaller size.

I will probably buy one but without the little indents -- I'm not sure they did anything anyway :)

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 7:34PM
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jhart3

Check out the Kasumi... they are made in the same village that forged samuri swords over the centuries, in the Damascus tradition... beautiful and functional.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2004 at 9:47PM
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hamptonmeadow

The main reason it is useful is because it slices much more thinly than a chef's knife. This is very useful for certain kinds of prep. Beats a chef's knife for sure. Otherwise it really doesn't do anything a chef's knife doesn't do. well, some veggies like tomatoes are easier because it doesn't allow knife to stick. As in potato, tomato.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 12:42AM
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