Watanabe Miroshi Deba 250mm(9.85")
Japanese Kitchen Knife Review

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Watanabe Miroshi 240mm(9.85")


- In the beginning, I had my doubts about doing the whole two hour veggie cutting session with the heavy knife, but then I remembered that Moritaka chukabocho, which I use regularly for the same mix, is even heavier than the miroshi, 492.30g(16.65oz) for chukabocho vs. 405.00mm(15.94") of miroshi. So I figured it was fine with the knife this sharp. Considering that the knife wasn't mine, but it was a present, I had to be extra careful with its use. Not that I am not careful with any knife I use, but still, I took few extra steps. Basically, it all came down to prevent patina forming as much as possible. As I said above, the cladding is wrought iron, making that more complicated, but nothing really impossible. All I had to do, is to wipe the blade more often than usual, especially with acidic ingredients, wash thoroughly after I was done, which is a standard procedure. Wrought iron still managed to develop a little patina, but that was easy to clean using flitz polishing paste, in just under 5 minutes. Plus, to get back the pristine edge, I've spent another 10 minutes on 0.50µm and 0.25µ diamond crystal loaded strops, and finished on the plain leather strop. There was only one cutting session, which lasted about 2 hours, could've been a little shorter, if I wasn't cleaning the blade so often, and a few times did test cuts on the same ingredients using Watanabe Honyaki gyuto and Moritaka Chukabocho. Former is a real gyuto, with a very thin edge, and later is a vegetable cleaver, with comparable weight to miroshi deba, actually heavier than Miroshi. Because I didn't have any fish at home to test miroshi for its original purpose, I had to cut vegetables, and some meat. And frankly, I am no good with fish filleting, I can fillet it properly, occasionally taking a peek in the book, but as far as my skills go with fish processing, I'd rate myself quite low, but I am working on it, slowly ;) Besides, I have already used Shigefusa 240mm kitaeji miroshi deba for fish filleting, so I had pretty good idea what would another 240mm miroshi deba would do. However, I have not used Shigefusa miroshi as a heavy gyuto, not yet at least, and this was a good opportunity to test the assumptions. As for the actual cutting, it was the standard set of 20 different vegetables and meat was two large pieces of London broil if I remember correctly.

Meat - I cut meat first, using miroshi deba as a sujihiki knife first, to clean the fat and tendons or whatever those things are, from lean meat. Next, I've sliced up the meat into small pieces and that was it. Cleaning meat was quite easy, due to the sharpness of the knife, but real suji would do better, because of the lighter weight, but I didn't bother picking up Watanabe sujihiki to do direct comparison, I use that one often enough to remember how it slices and dices, besides I didn't have that much of the meat to process. As for the slicing, performance was very high, but that's hardly a surprise. This was one time when extra weight actually helped with super sharp edge. Basically, I had to use very little, next to nothing pressure to make a slice. Basically, I just laid the knife on the meat and draw back, that's pretty much it. Overall, heavy weight works with certain knives, but that is not an universal feature that can work on every knife, and especially it's not a feature to compensate for a dull edge.

Vegetables - If you have read other kitchen knives reviews on this site, then I figure you know what was the test, but I'll still need to go into individual details, since the test was mainly with "how does miroshi work as a heavy gyuto" assessment in mind. I've started the test with Brussels sprouts, which are once of the harshest ingredients in the mix I cut. On its own, miroshi handled sprouts just fine, sharp, thin edge does help, however extra weight didn't make much of a difference this time, because I wasn't really slicing that much, more of a push cutting, and when I've picked up honyaki gyuto for comparison, it performed noticeably better, and the main difference was because of the difference in thickness of the blades. Basically, thicker blade gets stuck in the ingredient easier. I've switched to slicing, and things improved, but in comparison, honyaki gyuto sliced better as well, because of its thin blade. Next was the celery. I don't really like the taste to be honest, and because of that I shred it. Slicing stems into thin strips was easy with miroshi, thin//heavy blade worked fine, and celery isn't that thick to cause sticking issues. After that, I've cut those strips into small cubs, which was a breeze with a thin edge that sharp. Extra weight sortta helped here, in making smooth, effortless slices. Another hard one, carrot. I mince that into small cubes too, just like celery. Pretty much the same story as with the celery. Thick blade wasn't helping much compared to honyaki gyuto, other than that, on its own, miroshi demonstrated very high cutting ability once again. Next one was the eggplant, also small cubes. I cut it in half, then made horizontal slices, parallel to the board, then verticals, and after that one more set of verticals, perpendicular to the previous verticals. As before, thick blade was not making things better, did another comparison test cut with gyuto and one more with chukabocho, both cut better. Broccoli cutting was done in two parts, crowns are very soft, and as usual I mince them holding over the bowl, and for that lighter blade is mucho easier to work with. Here miroshi was easier to use than chukabocho, because of the light weight, and gyuto was even better because it is even lighter. Stems are much stronger than the crowns, and mincing those takes more effort, obviously I use the board, and with the stems, it was the same story, sharp blade helps, weight makes a little difference on the positive side when slicing, and gyuto performed better because of the thinner blade. Asparagus dicing was also very easy, and closer to the tops it was pretty much effortless, closer to the ends, stems are considerably harder to cut, and I did have to push more to make a cut, but noting that would make me feel uncomfortable. I guess, compared to other vegetables bell pepper is still in harsh category, and mincing it was very easy task, and neither extra weight nor extra thickness were affecting performance this time. And to conclude harder vegetable section, the red radish, which was also cut into batonnet. Same story again, cutting performance was high, but compared to thinner bladed gyuto, it was worse.

Switch to soft vegetables, and the first ingredient was couple bunches of the Italian parsley, which I had to mince. Miroshi performed very well on that job. Thin, chisel edge sliced through with no efforts. I just had to pay attention to prevent wedging and that's all. identical performance with green onions, smooth, fast cutting using slicing motion. Next was much more delicate cutting, which is cutting chiffonade from basil leaves. This time I used push cutting exclusively, and polished, supersharp, thin edge worked very well, very smooth, clean cuts, no squashed edges on the delicate leaves. After all that, there was not much left to cut, at least nothing different that would stand out. Soft veggies are soft and the knife that sharp, nothing to get stuck into, the knife just glided through everything. I've skipped cheese cutting, even though I was a little tempted, I knew the owner intended to do that, but I refrain from cheese cutting with thin edged, high performance cutters, and I always warn other folks against cutting cheese with non cheese knives. Bad things happen to the edge with cheese, even when the cheese seems to be soft.


- Overall, my opinion of this knife is very high. Fit and finish are very good, overall quality is super and cutting performance is also a match. The interesting question is the designed use. I already have 240mm miroshi deba, which before I have not really considered in the role of heavy gyuto, but after testing this knife, I figure, on occasion I might use mine as a gyuto, for fun or when/if the situation calls for it. If you are considering the Watanabe Miroshi deba, then for fish prep it's good, I guess you will mainly be limited by your own fish prep skills. As for the heavy gyuto role for the miroshi, it definitely works that way. It will work as a gyuto in general. To my taste, it's a bit heavy, but there's lots of people who like hefty, solid feel of their chef's knife. If you are one of them, and the chisel grind edge is ok with you, then why not.

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  • Blade - 250.00mm(9.84")
  • Thickness - 5.50mm
  • Width - 54.00mm
  • OAL - 405.00mm(15.94")
  • Steel - Aogami 2 steel 63-65HRC
  • Handle - Burnt Chestnut
  • Weight - 396.00g(13.39oz)
  • Acquired - 10/2010 Price - 460.00$

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Last updated - 05/19/19