This review is of the Konosuke HH nakiri kindly made available by Lepus in this passaround: konosuke-hh-nakiri-pass-around-t7529.html
The more I say it the more I worry that it may become cliche or sound disingenuous but I am genuinely appreciative and impressed by the generosity of people on this forum making their personal property available to perfect strangers in the spirit of cutlery enthusiasm. Thanks Lepus for your contribution here.
The knife I am reviewing can be seen on CKTG here: http://www.chefknivestogo.com/kostna18.html
So let me start by saying this knife is a Konosuke, that name has a cache attached to it that is well deserved and all the adulation heaped on the brand is fully deserved by this knife. It is a very good knife....but I am a bit confused by it.
First of all I own both a Kono Wt#2 and HD2 240mm Gyuto as well as a Tanaka Kurouchi nakiri, the most natural points of comparison to this knife.
Against the Kono gyutos I felt the nakiri underperformed a bit. Most of that is the nakirir is a more specialized tool and the gyuto is both a universal and adaptable tool and the instrument I am most confident using. But part of the problem is the nakiri could, when the mood struck it, get wedged more than the Kono gyutos. I had assumed that it was a weight issue with the gyutos having more chopping power. And this may be the case merely on account of the weight distribution, the gyutos may be more blade heavy. However, the gyutos and nakiri are basically the same overall weight, 4.9oz vs 4.8oz. I suppose it is possible that that 2% weight difference is somehow critical but I am not sure I believe that. Now there may be a difference in grind but my eyes could not detect one but maybe...
Against the Tanaka the Kono was head and shoulders the better made knife, but the Tanaka was the better performer. The Tanaka is heavier than the HH, 5.6oz vs 4.8oz giving it more cutting power. The Tanaka also got thinner at the edge than the Kono so it actually was less prone to wedging unless the ingredient was very tall and very firm.
All that said, the HH nakiri is not a bad knife, in fact I would argue it walked into a fight it was unlikely to win. That is because I am not a nakiri fan. I own the Tanaka and I keep it around because it is a great performer for the money and I think it is a characterful knife, but I almost never reach for it. I prefer a gyuto, and a long one at that. So in a head to head between a Kono nakiri and a Kono gyuto, the nakiri would have had to break the mould to beat the home team favorite. Now it was interesting to me that the less costly Tanaka measured up so well, but these two knives are not perfect competitors. The Tanaka is handmade, rustic, carbon core (carbon clad???), and has a somewhat polarizing profile. The Tanaka tapers toward the tip which I understand some people do not care for. The HH, by comparison is classic Kono fit and finish, stainless, a more squared off profile, and lighter.
I would say that the Kono is a damn good blade but maybe it is not as dominant a choice over the competition as the Kono laser gyutos. Part of that is likely because the competition will often grind nakiris thinner on account of their job description, while Kono appears to apply the same grind as they do to their gyutos, but that is just speculation.
No profile shots on this one, figured there were enough out there. Choil shots, left to right, Kono gyuto, Kono HH nakiri, Tanaka Kurouchi nakiri: