This review covers the Sukenari Damascus ZDP 189 210mm gyuto included in the platinum member pass around. The product page can be seen here: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/sudazdgy21.html
Never to be forgotten, 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 and edge taking is largely outside the scope of this review.
A confession, I saved the Sukenari for last specifically because of the price tag. I have never used a knife that costs well north of $400 and I am the sort who saves the best for last. Of the pass around knives, with a few minor caveats, the Sukenari is the best.
Aesthetically, the Sukenari is mirror polished damascus clad. The knife is well made and very sharp looking, though admittedly I do not particularly fancy mirror finishes.
In my review of the Sukenari's lesser brother the Ginsan 240mm I described its profile as "a fatter, taller permutation of the KS profile." The ZDP189 Sukenari has a very similar profile. It has a very useful pointed tip, it is tall at the heel and has a subtle belly in the last 1/3 of the knife toward the tip. I am pretty ho-hum to the KS profile mostly because my fat fingers don't fit comfortably under the short height of most KS styled knives but the amended profile here renders that complaint moot.
The knife is a light middle weight. It is has a very sturdy feel and a smooth grind with no shoulders culminating in thinness right at the edge. The result is the knife performs like it is on the thin side and feels like it is on the heavier side. It is a really effective compromise. IIRC Mel has recommended this knife for prep duties in professional settings and that makes a lot of sense. Especially when you consider the steel in this beast...
The knife came to me a with a decent but not exceptional edge. I did not sharpen it so I cannot discuss edge taking. However, tonight's meal worked out to be a fairly tough test of a knife's edge. I did not set out to abuse it, but there was a lot of chopping and rock cutting which can be particularly trying for the edge. Say what you will of the edge it has, but it did not loose a bit of it. As a home user knives rarely need touching up or even stropping during a meal, but you can usually feel the edge degrade just a bit...not here. I was very impressed by the durability of the edge.
I do have two small gripes about the knife. One easily changed and the other easily ignored. Last things first, I am one of those people who insist some knives feel a bit dead. I used to chalk it up to clad vs mono steel, but I have since amended that on account of clad knives that feel awesome and mono steel knives that don't. Unfortunately this knife did feel a bit on the dead side to me. I ignored that and so can you. The other beef is I am way too used to the 240mm length. These 210mm gyutos just seem to run out of real estate so quickly...the good news? They make these in 240mm: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/suzddagy24.html
This is the best knife in the pass around, though as I said there are some caveats. The Kurosaki Megumi did really impress me, and the Tetsuhiro Hammered was really a pleasure in its own right, and this knife is very costly, but it is a very good knife. You have to do your own math on that.
Side by side with the Tetsuhiro Hammered which shares a pointed profile, Sukenari is on top: