Enso HD 6.5 Inch Santoku Knife Review

The Hybrid Japanese Knife Power Cutter

The term “Japanese cutlery”, which we associate with delicacy, is often associated with Japanese cutlery. However, the Enso HD Santoku challenges that association a bit.

Enso knives can be found in the Yaxell brand. Enso is a specific name that refers to one vendor. Although I am not sure what the difference is, I know Enso knives were made in Yaxell with the same materials and craftsmen. I know they love to emphasize handles and make some of my favourite knife handles. However, they are not able to make traditional Japanese knives like those used by Japanese chefs.

The Enso HD Santoku knife is delicate in broad terms. Although the blade is thinner than a typical western chef knife, it still presents some chipping hazards. However, the bevel that they grinded is significantly less dangerous than the traditional santoku design. The entire construction is also much stronger than it should be.

These design elements can have some effects on the knife’s precision performance, but they make the knife more durable, reliable, and unique than other Japanese knives.

SPECIFICATIONS

Overall length: 11.75”
Blade Length 6.5”
Style: Santoku
Handle Length: 5.25”
Blade Steel 37 Layer VG-10 Damascus
Blade Grind Flat with 12 degree angle
Handle Material Black Micarta
HRC Rating 61
Weight: 7.4 oz

PROS

Damascus blade, well done!
The Micarta handle is very comfortable and can be used in a full grip
Kitchen knives with tough construction are made of durable materials

CONS

It is a bit heavy due to the full hidden tang.
Wedging is created by thickening behind the edge
Food release is not helped by hammer finish

THE BLADE and PERFORMANCE

Although the blade is sharp, it doesn’t feel that way. I always feel like there’s a little more resistance than usual, probably because Enso has ground it a little thicker behind the edge and given it a bevel rather than making it a full flat.

This reduces the risk of chipping. This is definitely a benefit of the knife over Japanese knives. I don’t have to make ten pounds of onions per minute, so it’s not an issue. This is something to keep in mind as you consider the work load you will be doing if this knife is purchased. This knife is not for the speedy.

The hammer finish does not start until about half the way up the blade, so there isn’t much food release. I end up with a pile of onion pieces on the side.

However, the edge requires a lot of effort. The layers make it struggle with onions, but it can handle tomatoes and lighter items like chives and yellow onions well. It might struggle a bit with meat if it’s used to thin, flat-ground knives. But it can do the job without much difficulty.

As someone who uses one knife for all my tasks, the thicker edge is a good choice. I don’t have to worry about cutting into avocado seeds or twisting them out. This knife feels more like a kitchen utility knife.

DAMASCUS BLADE 37-LAYER

Although I don’t know the name of Enso, it looks great on this knife. It is not clearly pronounced. It’s not obvious from across the room. Although the edge design has the feel of something between the water patterns of Damascus knives and the wave in San Mai, it is hard to see. It’s my favorite feature about the knife.

It is not clear if it will improve performance beyond some edge retention and toughness, but I like it.

THE HANDLE AND THE BALANCE

This is what makes the knife heavier than a traditional santoku. Enso has a full concealed tang that is similar to what you would feel in a Shun Classic. However, it is heavier due to the use of linen Micarta.

The WEIGHT IS A HYBRID TRUTH

This might seem like a negative thing if you are used to Japanese cutlery. However, handle-heavy santokus or gyutos is a growing trend that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, so maybe it’s a good thing.

Although the Shun Santoku’s balance isn’t optimal for straight pushing the santoku shape, it does allow for rock chopping with these slightly curved hybrid santokus. The same is true for this Enso. It has a slightly curved blade that allows you to do some mincing with herbs and garlic. The blade feels pretty balanced for this kind of thing.

ERGONOMICS – DO I REALLY WANT THIS KNIFE?

It can be difficult to cut anything in a pinch grip due to the edge’s weight, balance and wedging nature. After struggling with an onion for 5 minutes, I decided to just take a full grip of the handle and it was much easier. Although the cuts were not as precise, they were much more manageable and I was able to continue cutting for quite a while.

There are likely to be many things that this professional would not like. Untrained home chefs, like me, could still enjoy the Enso HD.

It’s really comfortable in the right grip

Although the weight can cause hand fatigue, once you get used the feeling, the handle is fantastic. These oval, bellied handles are my favorite. It felt great to hold the handle with a full grip. The shape and weight of the handle fit my hand perfectly.

This has a very robust grind so I don’t mind using it in full grip to push through potatoes or root sections of onions.

COMPARISON AND OTHER OPTIONS

This review has been a constant comparison of the Enso HD Santoku and the Shun Classic Santoku. The Shun’s cuts are my favorite, but the Enso is more comfortable overall. They are both in the same price range, so I will leave this up to your personal preference.

The truth is that I don’t use them often on my own. The Tojiro chef knife I use most often is my favorite, and their santoku would be just as pleasant to use. It’s often $20 cheaper than the Shun or Enso.

Global is the best choice if you want great balance. These knives have a great edge and feel almost as good as the Enso. However, Global knives are more difficult to sharpen.

You might be a fan of long-bladed santoku knives made in America. Check out our Tactile 8 Inch Santoku knife Review.

CONCLUSION

Although the Enso HD Santoku knife is good, I believe its best use is as a gift.

The handle is elegant and classy, as well as the intricate patterning on its blade. This knife is a great choice for anyone who has been used to cheap knives. It cuts extremely smoothly and feels amazing.

It doesn’t have an exceptional cutting action, which is the main problem. Tojiro, Global, and Mac knives are all better at cutting for the same or lower price. This is a beautiful piece of art with excellent kitchen functionality. However, it still has enough functionality that it is worth the price if you really want it.

It’s not something that professional chefs will use, but it adds a lot to the kitchen’s decor. As long as you don’t compete with a Takamura Gyuto chef, this is something worth bragging about. Although there are a few flaws we can all see after having used dozens of knives before, the fact of the matter is that the Yaxell factory puts a lot of effort into making these knives. They are very good at making knives that are consistent in their cut and handling. The risk of chipping is reduced by their grinds, so even a less skilled cook doesn’t have to worry about perfect cuts. Additionally, the weight may be more appealing to someone who has never been taught traditional gripping.

About the author

Hi, my name is Jaba Ray. I'm a knife expert and researcher. I am the creator of thesandwichknife.com, your one-stop site for everything related to knives. I love people who need suitable steel or knife for their cook because I'm also a food lover. I work with a team of people who've always had a passion for knives and blades on this site.

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