There’s nothing more frustrating than not having the right knife for the job when cooking, and it’s important that those knives be razor-sharp, well-balanced, and comfortable to hold while chopping and slicing. If you’re discouraged by the prices charged for a good set of name-brand knives, then you should check out the Misen 03 Essentials Knife Set.
I’ll tell you right now that I am a bit of a knife snob. I have purchased and been gifted expensive knives over the years, and the chef’s knife that I use every day cost more than twice what this set of three retails for. I’ve even built my own chef’s knife from a kit. I know what I like, and I know what works best for me. I was excited to see how the Misen knives would compare.
Included in the set are a paring knife, a serrated knife, and a chef’s knife. At $130, the 03 Essentials set isn’t cheap, but it is priced well below some of the other well-known premium brands. Misen allows you to choose from handles that are cornflower blue, black, or gray; I requested the black handled set.
My first impression of the knives was that they were heavier in hand than some of the knives I’ve used. That’s a good thing; I like to have a bit of heft, as it makes me feel like the knife is more substantial and easier to control. The blades are made from AICHI AUS-8 steel, which Misen says “offers a great balance of sharp edge retention and durability, with 60% higher carbon content than other “premium” knives.”
What I like is that the blades feel substantial; the sloped bolster on the chef’s knife, for instance, is 7mm near the handle tapering to 2mm at the tip of the spine. There’s no flex or give, and that’s exactly how I want my chef’s knife to behave. The edges of each knife are straight and true — and absolutely razor-sharp. I suspect that they will hold their edges for a good amount of time, and they will be easy to sharpen when necessary.
Let’s take a look at each knife.
Misen Serrated Knife
The serrated knife is what some people call a bread knife, but it is good for doing so much more. This is a knife that is made for cutting items that are hard on the outside and soft on the inside — so beyond bread, think of things like tomatoes, pastries, fruits with tough skins (like grapefruits or oranges), or — believe it or not — layer cakes. A serrated knife will cut through all of these things cleanly and smoothly.
The Misen serrated knife measures 15″ long from butt to point.
Its handle is substantial enough that I can get a good solid grip on the knife without my fingers curling into my palm. It fits perfectly in my hand, and the wide bolster gives me a perfect spot to rest my thumb.
Misen Chef’s Knife
This is my new favorite chef’s knife, and I am almost afraid to let Kev know that since he’s the one who bought me my absurdly expensive Japanese chef’s knife. Let’s not tell him, okay?
The Misen chef’s knife measures 13.25″ from butt to point, and it is perfectly balanced for chopping, slicing, and mincing. It makes short work of potatoes, carrots, and meats.
Again, the handle fits perfectly and securely in my hand, and the edge is ridiculously sharp. Cue the Psycho music!
Misen Paring Knife
Last but not least is the cute little paring knife. Measuring 7.6″ from butt to point, it is insanely. sharp and ready to slice veggies, peel skins, or remove stems. I’ve been guilty of grabbing a paring knife to cut small pieces of meat, and this one excels at that.
Even though the knife is much smaller than its siblings, it still has a substantial handle that fits perfectly in my hand. The wide bolster at the beginning of the knife’s spine is the perfect place to rest my thumb.
The knives include in the Misen 03 Essentials Knife Set are beautifully made, perfectly weighted, and extremely sharp. The handles fit perfectly in my hand, and the knives are balanced for complete control when chopping, slicing, or peeling. They work and feel like they should cost much more than they do. The only complaint that I have is that Misen doesn’t offer a set of steak knives!
The Misen 03 Essentials Knife Set retails for $130, and it is available directly from the manufacturer.
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Perfectly weighted and balanced razor-sharp knives; the blades are substantial — not thin or flexible at all
What Needs Improvement: Nothing