Another Great Option in the Budget Chef Knife Category
If you’re looking for some reliable kitchen cutlery under $30, this knife is worth your consideration. It looks good enough to work as a gift, and works well enough to feel good in a home kitchen a few hours a day. It works especially well on fruits and vegetables. This was my best friend for making salsa for a while, 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 Mosfiata chef knife offers a decent balance between quality and price.
|Flat w/ 14-16° edge
|High Carbon Stainless German (so probably 4116)
|Cuts fruits and vegetables really well
|Lightweight with a bit of heft
|Comes with sharpening system that works pretty well
|Trimmings stick to the sides
|Mirror finish stains easily
|Tricky to pinch grip
|Soft steel that won’t hold an edge long
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, they 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 created a pretty convincing wood pattern in the composite material of the handle.
The handle is probably best part in terms of looks (of course I say this as someone who isn’t a big fan of laser etched Damascus patterns). They’ve put a neat little design in the center pin, and the fit and finish is good. 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, and the slight texturing from the blade’s pattern only seems to compound the issue.
Slicing up things like carrots and squash can get a little frustrating because half of the trimmings 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 have since found it’s pretty common with a lot of kitchen knives, but it feels especially pronounced on these low-cost knives that are so polished you could check your teeth in the reflection of the blade. 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. This knife is otherwise easy to maintain thanks to the high chromium content in what is very likely 4116 (which is pretty typical tough, stainless steel in a lot of kitchen cutlery). 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 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 Micarta is caked pretty heavily in resin so it feels more like plastic than whatever linen they used as the base, but it’s really easy to clean and it makes for a nice grip if you’re the type to hold your kitchen knives in a full 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.
Comparison and Alternatives
This knife does well enough for itself in this price range, but it’s not the only good knife in the sub-50 range. Dexter Russell and Victorinox Fibrox both make great, practical chef knives that could last you years. The problem with those particular brands is they but function way above form. They work, and they don’t much attempt to look good doing it.
If you want to go a little high up the price chain, though, I’d point you at the Tojiro DP chef knife first. After years of reviewing knives, that has remained one of our absolute favorites in the kitchen. It’s quite a bit thinner with better edge geometry and a harder steel, so it cuts a lot more smoothly and it will keep it’s edge longer. Tojiro also makes a Damascus patterned version, if you’re married to that look, only Tojiro’s is real pattern-welded steel instead of just laser etching. It’s roughly twice is much, but if you’re getting serious in the kitchen, it’s well worth the price.
The other knife that’s similar in style is the Yaxell Mon Gyuto. It’s in the same price range as the Tojiro, but the handle is closer in shape to this Mosfiata. I found the pinch grip to be a lot more comfortable with it, and while the edge is a little too thick behind the edge, it cuts fine and uses a pretty decent steel.
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 seems 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. This knife cuts wells enough, and while I now have nicer knives at my disposable these days, I’ll still pick this thing up for things because I can get the edge super sharp, and I’m frankly not all that worried about chipping it.