This review covers the Itto-Ryu 240mm gyuto included in the platinum member pass around. The product page can be seen here: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/ithagy240.html
Again, thanks to Mark for making these knives available to the forum for review.
Disclaimer: this review is based on a single meal prep for a home user so please take this with a grain of salt. Since the itinerary for this pass around gives me five days with five knives I hope to dedicate one night to each knife. Accordingly edge retention is outside the scope of this review and I do not plan to sharpen the knives.
The Itto-Ryu has received a lot of press recently for punching well above its price point. In particular the proponents of the Itto-Ryu see it as the Goko killer. Overall the hype has merit. The knife delivers a high level of performance, at or near what the Goko offers, at a moderately lower price.
The Itto-Ryu is a heavy middle weight knife that feels very substantial in the hand. Its grind leaves the blade thicker than the Goko ~4mm from the edge but thinner than the Goko ~1mm behind the edge. The result is the Itto-Ryu performs better in shorter and softer ingredients where wedging is less of a problem. But the Goko uses its breadth at the edge and lack of a shoulder to out perform the Itto-Ryu in taller, firmer ingredients. At first the Itto-Ryu was wowing me but the second I cut into an onion the knife's ability to wedge reared its head.
The Itto-Ryu's performance is actually aided by its fit-and-finish a very smooth frosted finish on the blade road presents less drag than the grind marks on the Goko so slicing is easier.
Overall fit and finish is OK. The hammer marks are very attractive as is the KU type finish over the hammering. Those aspects compare favorably with the Anryu Hammered. The frosted finish on the blade road is also very attractive. The choil area is eased and the spine is nicely radiused. Unfortunately there are some aspects that I found less appealing. There are grind marks in the finish that detract from the well done hammering and KU finish. The Itto-Ryu shares the awful Goko chestnut handle but has poorer install with practically no space between the heel and the handle. The angle at which the machi and heel meet is very...rustic. Normally this type of unevenness has a sort of wabi-sabi appeal but here it looks a bit lazy.
The short version of the story, IMHO, is the Itto-Ryu trades a modestly lower level of fit and finish for a modest price savings over the Goko. The Itto-Ryu trades tit-for-tat some performance advantages for others vis-a-vis the Goko so here it is a draw. For me personally I think I would ante up the extra $30 for the Goko but I don't mind the extra girth behind the edge. For other users the Itto-Ryu may leave extra cash in their pocket and deliver a more satisfying performer, but that is subjective.
Side by side with the Goko, the Itto-Ryu is on top:
Choil shot side by side with the Goko, Itto-Ryu is on the left:
I don't plan to use this knife again but I think I may do an additional entry on it later in the week. This knife begs comparison with a few other knives...we'll see if I have time.