Blade: 210mm long; 65-layer damascus, warikomi cladding; CMV60 (VG-10) core (target 60 HRC); double-bevel (60-40 ratio at a guess) edge
Handle: western-style 3-rivet; micarta
This was my first venture into the realm of Japanese cutlery so I figured it made sense to start with a gyuto, the Japanese version of a western chef’s knife—the type of knife that I’m most familiar with. I didn’t want to start off super fancy since its extremely easy to dump a whole lot of money on nice knives and I wanted to test the waters before attempting to swim across the Channel. Besides, super fancy would come along in time anyway. After a lot of pouring over the wisdom of the internet (and a lot of that… other stuff you find on the internet), I had narrowed down my selections, so the Gastrognome and I ventured over to Sur la Table to have a look at the knives. After a bit of hands-on testing, this is the one that I ended up with.
The knife was quickly freed from its box (a fairly standard plastic-and-foam affair, albeit sporting a small photo of Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, who collaborated on the design on the knife), and initial inspection showed the fit and finish to be very good. Personally, I think the knife looks really nice—some people who prefer a minimalist or a rustic look might be turned off by the damascus or the red spacers set in the darker handle, but I like ‘em. Speaking of the handle, it’s very comfortable; this was actually one of the first things that I noticed when I got to hold it in the store, and it doesn’t disappoint while in use either. The weight is only 1 gram less than my 4-Star, but the balance is right in front of the choil and the knife feels lighter in hand than its German cousin as well. Quite frankly, holding this thing just plain feels good.
The blade was (somewhat to my surprise) shaving sharp right out of the box and sports a very nice feature in that the spine and choil are eased by the manufacturer, so a pinch grip is comfy right off the bat (yet another reason to just wrap my fingers around it!). The geometry is a bit closer to German than French style, but the blade is definitely flatter than, say, my 4-Star chef’s knife. The knife has performed well in all of the cutting tasks I’ve put it through so far, which mainly involve cutting a variety of fruits (tomatoes, cucumbers, lemons), vegetables (lots of onions, garlic, peppers as well as harder stuff like carrots, broccoli and asparagus) and herbs (basil chiffonade, minced parsley and cilantro). The 600D doesn’t rock quite as well as the fuller bellied 4-Star, but (as expected) it’s a better push-cutter and slicer, which suits my style better anyhow.
It should be noted that Miyabi makes a number of (distressingly similarly named) knife lines where in general an “S” in the name means the knife is made with German steel, a “D” indicates damascus and “MC” indicates super-high hardness powdered steel. The 600D Fusion line is only available from Sur la Table, but contrary to what you would expect from most “exclusive offers,” is priced very similarly to Miyabi’s standard 7000D line even while sporting a superior (in my opinion) design.
Overall I’m really happy with the knife so far and would definitely recommend it to others looking for an entry into the realm of Japanese kitchen knives! If the sun ever decides to come out and give me some decent light, I’ll try to add some pictures.