Enso HD 6.5 Inch Santoku Knife Review by all best home

by | Jun 5, 2021 | cutlery and knife | 0 comments

Hybrid Japanese Knife Power Cutter

Enso knives are part of the Yaxell brand. There is something about the fact that the name Enso is specific to one or another supplier. I do not quite understand the difference, but I know that Enso knives are made at the Yaxell factory with all the same materials and craftsmen. Based on that, I also know that they really like to emphasize handles, and they certainly make some of my favorite knife handles. However, they do not excel in what real Japanese chefs would call traditional Japanese knives.

Enso HD Santoku is a delicate knife in a broad sense. The blade is thinner than your typical western chef’s knife and still has some of the cutting dangers inherent in the santoku style, the danger is significantly reduced by the slope they put in the grinder, and the whole construction is built quite a bit robust (really robust , than it should be).

These design elements have some implications in the accuracy of the knife, but they result in something robust, reliable and quite unique from other Japanese knives out there.

specifications

An alternate profile image of the Enso HD Santoku on an end cutting board.

  • Total length: 11.75 ”
  • Knife length: 6.5 ”
  • Style: Santoku
  • Handle length: 5.25 ”
  • Blade steel: 37 layers VG-10 damask
  • Knife sharpening: Flat w / 12 degree angle
  • Handle material: Black Micarta
  • HRC rating: 61
  • Weight: 7.4 oz.

Advantage

  • Well done Damascus blade
  • Micarta handle is comfortable in full grip
  • Hard assembled construction for a kitchen knife

Disadvantages

  • Full hidden seaweed makes it a little heavy
  • Thickness behind the edge creates wedge
  • Hammer finish does not help much with food release

The blade and the performance

A close-up of Enso Santoku HD kitchen knife cut through a red pepper.

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This blade is sharp, but it does not feel like it. I always feel like there is a little more resistance than usual, probably because Enso has the ground it a little thicker behind the edge and given it a slant rather than making it a full flat.

This reduces the risk of shavings quite a bit. It’s definitely one thing that this knife has over other Japanese knives, and since I’m not a line chef trying to pump ten pounds of checkered onions out every minute, it’s not exactly a big deal. But it is worth keeping in mind when considering the workload you are under if you get this knife. This is not a speedster.

Especially since the hammer finish only starts halfway up the blade, so it does not provide much food release. I still end up with a stack of onion pieces along the side.

However, the edge gets a lot of work done. It struggles a bit with onions because of the layers, but it handles tomatoes and lighter things like chives and green onions fine. You may see the giant bit of meat if you are used to very thin, flat earth knives, but it gets the job done without too much hassle.

When I speak as someone who generally uses a knife for everything in one day, I actually like the thicker edge because I’m not so worried about making sketchy things like chopping into an avocado seed to wring it out. In that sense, this feels like a wider usable knife in the kitchen.

Damascus magazine with 37 layers

I do not know what Enso pairs with the VG-10, but it appears beautifully on this knife. It is not stated. You probably won’t see it from across the room (and we had a hell of a time trying to get the pattern to show up in these photos), but the design behind the edge has a sense of something somewhere between the water patterns of Damascus wings and San The May wave. I think it’s one of the most striking features of the knife.

I’m skeptical about how much it helps performance beyond a minor improvement in toughness and maybe a little edge retention, but it’s a good feature to see regardless.

The handle and the balance

A close-up of the Enso HD Santoku knife handle.

This is the element that makes the knife a little heavier than a santoku traditionally should be. Enso uses a full hidden pliers similar to what you will feel in a Shun Classic, only this is a little heavier, probably thanks to linen Micarta.

Weight is a hybrid thing

Enso santoku knife in digital scale.

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If you’re used to Japanese cutlery, this can be a bad thing, but handle-heavy santokus and gyutos are a growing trend that doesn’t seem to go away, so maybe weight is a good thing for most people.

I have previously complained that Shun Santoku has a balance that is not optimized for the straight push that the santoku shape was intended for, but it leans into the rock chopping ability you get with these slightly curved, hybrid santokus. It’s the same with this Enso. The leaf is slightly curved into the tip so you can chop a little with garlic and herbs, and it feels pretty well balanced for that sort of thing.

Ergonomics and I really want to use this knife

A close-up of a man's hand grasping the handle of the Enso HD Santoku knife in front of a black background.

Between the edge’s weight, balance and wedge arrangement, it becomes a little uncomfortable to cut something difficult in a knife grip. After about 5 minutes of fighting through an onion, I finally just started using this in a full grip on the handle and it got a lot easier. The cuts were not as precise, but they were much lighter, and I found that I could continue cutting for a while.

So there are probably many things about this that a professional does not like. However, I think an untrained home cook like myself could find a way to have fun with Enso HD.

 

It’s really comfortable in the right grip

A close-up of an Enso Santoku knife in a person's hand slicing up a red pepper.

The weight will definitely create some fatigue over time until you get used to the feel, but the handle itself feels great. However, I am part of these bent, oval handles. When I first leaned in with a full grip, it felt really nice to use because the shape of the handle fits my hand and the weight gives it a good strong feel.

I am also not against using this in a full grip to push it through a potato or the root section of an onion as they have put a pretty sturdy paint on this.

Comparison and alternatives

The Shun Classic Santoku knife is an alternative for the same price as the Enso HD santoku knife.
Shun Classic 7 inch santoku knife is a similar price alternative to Enso 6.5 inch santoku knife.

I have compared Enso HD Santoku pretty consistently with Shun Classic Santoku through this review. I think between the two I like the way Shun cuts, but I like the way Enso feels in general. They tend to run in the same price category, so I throw this choice up to personal preference.

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Thing is, I don’t really use any of them consistently alone. A Tojiro chef’s knife is often my turn to, and I expect their santoku to be just as comfortable to use. Plus it’s usually at least $ 20 less than either Enso or Shun.

However, if you are looking for good balance, it is hard to beat Global these days. They have a good edge, but every knife I have handled from them always feels like it is weighted perfectly and the price is about the same as the Enso. However, global knives tend to be harder to sharpen.

Check out our best Japanese knife set article, though, if you want a more complete idea of ​​the other options out there.

Conclusion

A close up of Enso HD santoku knife cut through a tomato.

Enso HD Santoku is a good enough knife, but I think it is excellent as a striking gift.

It has a lot of shock value from the pattern on the blade to the discreet classic look of the handle. And for someone accustomed to cheaper knives, this has a phenomenal cutting action that feels incredibly smooth.

The main problem is that it does not have a phenomenal cutting action for its price point. Global, Tojiro and Mac knives all cut better at similar or lower prices. It’s a show piece with a bit of good kitchen functionality, but it has enough functionality to justify that look if it’s something you want bad enough.

This is not something for the professional chef, but it brings a lot to the kitchen decor.  as long as you do not get into a dice competition with a chef using a Takamura Gyuto. it is something worth bragging about. There are small flaws that we could all pick up after handling dozens of other knives.  but the fact is that they undergo a great deal of effort in the Yaxell factory to get these knives to cut and handle a certain way.

they are in all in all very good at consistently getting their knives to come out that way. Their grinding reduces the risk of chipping, so the less skilled chef does not have to worry about making perfect cuts, and the unconventional weight may well be preferable to one that never really trains in a traditional grip.

It’s not for everyone, but it’s good for most of us.

 

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