Another Great Option in the Budget Chef Knife Category
If you’re looking for some reliable kitchen cutlery under $30, this knife is well worth your consideration. It looks good enough to work as a gift, and works well enough to feel good using in a home kitchen a few hours a day. It works especially well on fruits and vegetables. This has become my new best friend for making salsa, although it does have some of the trappings of a blade that’s a little too shiny. Ultimately, this is a nice chef knife with no glaring problems besides a steel that’s a little softer than your average professional chef knife.
The Mosfiata 8-Inch chef knife is part of a slowly growing trend to make reasonably priced kitchen knives that function with some professional quality. For those of us who need a sharp knife to get a decent tomato slice but don’t have 12 hour work days in the kitchen to justify a $200 chef knife, the Mofiata chef knife offers just the right balance between quality and price.
- Overall Length:
- Blade Length: 8.0”
- Handle Length: 5.0″
- Blade Steel: 4116 German Stainless Steel
- Blade Grind: Flat
- Handle Material: Polypropylene
- HRC Rating: 56+
- Cuts fruits and vegetables very well
- Comfortable handle
- Lightweight with a bit of heft
- Trimmings stick to the sides
- Mirror finish stains easily
- Tricky in a pinch grip
It’s pretty clear right off that Mosfiata put a lot of effort into making this knife look good. It comes in a nice box furnished with dramatically red felt, the put a pretty extreme mirror finish on the blade with what appears to be laser-etched Damascus lines across the whole thing, and they’ve been pretty successful at creating a wood pattern in the composite material of the handle.
The handle is probably best part in terms of looks actually. They’ve put a neat little design in the center pin, and the fit and finish is spot on. There are no gaps between the steel and scales, and they’ve carefully ground it all down to the same level. It feels pretty seamless, which isn’t something you can always expect to get in chef knife that runs under $50. But all that is pointless if the thing doesn’t cut, so…
Smooth Cutting for Fruits and Vegetables
Tomatoes and cilantro make up about 80% of the things I cut, so it was great to find that this knife handles both of those really well. Cilantro has always been a sort of litmus test of sharpness for me. It’s so light and thin that if a knife isn’t sharp it just mashes the stuff up. I was getting nice, clean lines with this Mosfiata, though.
What was far more impressive (and fun) to me, though, was that I could slice tomatoes with it one-handed. I couldn’t do it well, but that’s more because of my own lack of ability. It managed to slice into the skin of the tomato without having to hold the fruit down, and with a little light back and forth slicing I managed to get all the way through. Things go a lot better when I cut things like a responsible adult and actually hold everything the way I should. It’s a credit to the edge on this knife that an untrained hooligan like me can cut paper out of a tomato with relative ease.
It was a little less impressive with raw meat, but that’s a tough category anyway. It’ll cut, and you can see in the picture it’ll cut fairly clean in spite of my less than apt technique, but it takes some encouragement. It’s not a meat knife, though. It’ll get there, just not as fast other knives. I will say that the tip of this knife cuts very well, and even though I haven’t tested it on a chicken, it feels like it would be a good tool for fabricating raw chicken for soup, for example.
The Mosfiata chef knife does have a problem that I’ve noticed is pretty common with mirror-finished knives: everything sticks to the sides. That perfectly smooth blade and fine edge are a recipe for a lot of build of whatever food you’re cutting. Slicing up things like carrots and squash can get a little frustrating because half of the cut pieces stay on the knife, but the cutting goes so smoothly it’s easy to get into a rhythm that you don’t want to stop. If you don’t stop to nudge the trimmings off the knife, though, they build up before jumping off the knife and rolling off the counter.
I had a similar problem with the Kaizen chef knife, and mentioned something about how a granton edge might help. Now I’m thinking they just need to make the grind on the knife a little higher, or at least texture the blade a little so it’s not so perfectly flat and smooth on the sides. It cuts great, but that seamless mirror look comes with little frustrations.
The Shiny Look Means Hard Cleaning but Easy Maintenance
This little detail comes with another problem as well: the mirror finish stains easily. The first thing we tested it on was a carrot, and it immediately left smudges all along the sides that we couldn’t just wipe off. We got it clean easily enough with a quick spray of vinegar, so it’s not impossible to keep this knife looking shiny, it’ll just take a little more work than normal.
Whether the shiny, Damascus pattern is worth the effort or not is up to you. I’m not personally keen on Damascus patterns or mirror finishes, but it is a sign of a high chromium content, which means this knife is otherwise very easy to maintain. Rust shouldn’t ever be a problem unless you’re constantly leaving it out wet. It will dull rather quickly over time, but the sharpener that comes with the box set seems to work well enough. If you just run the knife through that once a month and keep the thing dry, you’ll have a perfectly good, long-lived chef knife for the home.
The handle feels great in a full grip. There’s just enough of a bulge to be comfortable in my hand, and it has a nice heft to it as well. The intensely polysyllabic composite that makes up the non-steel portion of the handle (apparently a combination of something called Santoprene and polypropylene) seems to do its job of not slipping incredibly well. It reminds me a little of G-10, but I haven’t looked far enough into what the stuff actually is to see how close it really lines up with G-10. Either way, it creates a nice grip.
It’s the steel parts of the handle that make a slight problem and that’s mostly because of the slope in the bolster of the knife. It just makes the pinch grip feel a little precarious.
I’m torn on this particular part of the knife. It looks nice, and I think the idea behind it was to make a pinch grip more comfortable by creating a slope for the fingers to rest in, but without any kind of texturing or a corner to hook a finger in there I feel like I have to pinch harder than normal to keep the knife secure.
This doesn’t interfere with the function of the knife that much. It still cuts beautifully, and I never really felt like I was in danger of dropping the knife. For the 1 – 3 hours that I normally spend cooking or baking every now and then it doesn’t feel like that big of issue. I think it would start getting more severely uncomfortable getting into a fourth hour of cooking if I’m having to pinch grip a lot. But who needs to hold a knife like that for so long anyway? It might be a bigger problem for professional chefs, but that’s just not a standard this knife really needs to meet. It works incredibly well within the spectrum of use Mosfiata seems to have made it for: a durable, low-cost knife for the home.
Conclusion: A Great Kitchen Knife for Under $40
This is a good knife for the price. I mean that in the best possible way. Mostly. It cuts well, I like the way it feels. I’m not a fan of how it looks, but when it’s in the $40 that’s really not a big issue, especially since there seem to be plenty of people who enjoy the Damascus lines.
The difference between the steel and balance on this knife versus something like a $150 knife from Wusthof is still pretty extreme. This isn’t a professional level knife, nor should anyone expect it to perform at that level. But as a budget chef knife or a gift for someone who cooks at home a lot, this is a solid knife. That might sound like a condescending category to place it in, but keep in mind I’m not a professional chef. I’m an idiot who bungles with knives a lot, and very often I’m bungling into food. I like this knife. I enjoyed using it and I still use it because it’s sharp, light, and comfortable, and I’m not afraid of breaking it.