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PRODUCT REVIEW #1— Can A $7 Chef’s Knife Be Any Good?

($6.59 + tax, actually.)

I went on a RESTAURANT DEPOT safari yesterday. While I was loading my Soviet coal cart with the items I came for, something else caught my eye— a chef’s knife at an unbelievably low price.

Of course it came from TCTMATCC (“the country that makes all that cheap crap.”) It couldn’t be otherwise at that price. But it says right on the package that it is made of “Superior German Stainless Steel,” to wit, an alloy known as X50 CrMo V15. This seemingly secret code means that it is forged from a particular German stainless steel considered very good but not great for knife blades. Indeed, it is the same steel one finds in the well-known German brand Henkels. For approximately 1000x the price of our $7 special, one particular Nesmuk Chef’s Knife is hand-forged with 400-layer damask high carbon steel rather than mere stainless. For seven bucks, I’m perfectly okay with the Chrome-Moly stainless… I can afford plenty of fabulous Wagyu Beef with the difference.

With so little to lose, I bought this knife. I had promised to help my BFF AndyS. equip his Boston kitchen, and this would make a great addition. More importantly, perhaps, I also felt the need to answer the question in the title above.

* * * * * * *

I agree with whoever said that the best knife is a sharp knife. I like my knives sharp enough to shave a worm without hurting it. (Pro-Tip: Own a good sharpener.) And while a razor-like implement can accidentally slice human flesh as effortlessly as it cuts onions or beef, a sharp knife is generally considered safer because it affords greater control with less effort.

And folks, this knife is sharp… astonishingly sharp. What’s more, the blade isn’t some flimsy-ass, paper-thin affair that will be essentially useless after a month of regular use; rather, it has perhaps two-thirds the blade width of a serious (and expensive) brand-name knife of similar configuration. My only gripe so far is that the handle is perhaps a half-inch shorter than the handles to which I have grown accustomed.

Some things remain to be seen— will the blade stay firmly riveted to the polypropylene handle? Will the “long-lasting edge” actually last long and then re-sharpen to its original form? Only time will tell. I promise to report my findings in a follow-up post.

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