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This is more of a customer (long) testimonial than a review.
I first used Japanese Knife Imports (JKI) in 2011 when I bought my 1st Konosuke kiritsuke. That 1st phone call and discussion introduced me to what a responsible and honest owner/operator Jon Broida is. He discussed and explained much about the knife and carbon steel. He made sure I knew I was buying a carbon knife and the challenges it is compared to western stainless. He made sure the item was what I was looking for and that I would be happy with it with the information I had given him. He expedited the order and it arrived quickly and very well packed. I was completely satisfied with my purchase and the manner it was sent.
That 1st interaction led me to become a common visitor to the JKI web page, videos and blog. I found out that JKI is a family owned and operated business. Reading and watching the videos introduced me to Sra and Jon and their dedication to the shop and business. I have to say that when it comes to helpful websites theirs is the best . I have been working in restaurants for over 25 years and been a sushi chef since 1995. I had always loved sharpening knives and thought I knew what sharp was. I was wrong. JKI’s videos and tutorials explained and taught me in a complete and comprehensive manner what I needed to know to get knives sharp “to a whole new level” . Not just for the sake of being sharp but to be usable and functional in a professional environment. Jon’s background history of being a professional chef (not just in the United States but in Japan) allows him to understand what is needed from knives as well as clearly communicate how to get these results. There are other video tutorials out there but they don’t have the production value, comprehension and clarity Jon delivers.
After a few years I had finally been able to make a little pilgrimage to the JKI shop in Venice. When I opened the door it was exactly what I expected. A fantastic space that exudes elements of part showroom/gallery (some of the exquisite Gesshin yakimono(Pottery) is on display. Hopefully they can soon offer a next door gallery in the future since Sara’s family pottery is an amazing artistry and deserves it’s recognition )/office/craftsmen studio(video shooting and knife sharpening occur in the back part of the room). Both Sara and Jon were there side by side at the computers. They quickly greeted me warmly and I couldn’t help but grin widely as since I was so happy to finally meet them. Jon quickly got up from his typical 60+++ responses to daily emails and spent the next hour helping me and inviting me to look, touch , discuss everything about knives, sharpening, restaurants etc… I easily could have spent more time there but felt guilty taking Jon away from emails. As Jon got my purchases rung up (and his pricing is very competitive IMHO, I just came from Anzen hardware and Mutual Trading Company showroom which was having there june %20 off sale and JKI normal pricing beat their sale prices) he offered for me to stay or visit any time to discuss more as well as sharpen anything anytime. Even though I am a few hours away and most of the time in Vail Colorado I definitely will be back.
Lastly, I want to speak on the behalf of the Gesshin brand hocho that JKI not just sells but develops. A great product and fantastic line up. I believe I was a lot like most people and had issues and concerns purchasing an unknown item. When I am looking at knives I am reading forum information and comparing co workers knives. Since Gesshin is a relatively new small exclusive line it isn’t discussed often or owned by my peers, it loses out in my purchasing consideration . After seeing and feeling the products I have no reservations on purchasing a Gesshin knife. The fit/finish feel of these knives are amazing. The pricing makes them the best bang for the buck bar none. Jon will never push you to only a Gesshin knife or any other knife he sells. He will tell you which knife fills your needs and wants from what you tell him. I completely believe that A Gesshin knife will be my next purchase. The only issue is which one?!
Both Sara and Jon are wonderful people. They take a great deal of time and energy to run an amazing establishment . I am extremely thankful for their dedication and commitment.
This is my review of my order White #2 270mm Yoshihiro sujihiki with ebony wood handle, custom forged for a left handed user.
The service and information offered by Jonathan and Japanese knife imports is unparalleled. I exchanged many emails filled with question about all the different aspects of the Japanese knives, the responses I received contained tons of easy to understand and relevant information. Not only did Jonathan help me to choose a knife that would fit my abilities and uses his responses were lightning fast.
And now finally the knife, from the time the second half of the payment was sent (custom order payments are separate I to two parts) until I held the package in my hand was about two days. The knife came beautifully wrapped in black paper over a green box, packed so it cannot shift and chip or scratch. The handle is smooth and comfortable and fully connected to the blade, no mismatched sizes or slightly shaky connections. The blade itself looks beautiful, practically mirror-finish with a perfectly straight edge. I had the knife sharpened by Japanese knife imports before it was sent to me and it cuts so smoothly you almost need to check if you are actually cutting the meat. Razor sharp and needs absolutely no pressure to effortlessly glide through whatever you are cutting. Even all the people who couldn't believe I bought such a knife now say that it's is quite obviously worth every penny!
All in all the experience I had with Jonathan and Japanese knife imports was excellent and I would recommend them to anyone looking to buy a knife, wether you are a beginner in the world of Japanese knives and the sharpness they wield or a long time user of these fine instruments, Jonathan and japanese knife imports have the knowledge and expertise to help you out.
Just thought I’d give my thoughts about the HD 270mm I received from Jon at Japanese Knife Imports a couple of weeks ago…
Pro cooks, including Jon, have already done some reviews on this knife: Jon's review , Boar D. Laze , rc42. As far as technical observations, I think they’ve pretty much already said everything that I could think of, and all of it was overwhelmingly positive. Simply put: this is one great knife!
One thing I would like to add, and it’s kind of a “feel” observation. I immediately cut better. And as time goes on, I will cut even better than that. I get the impression that the blade is designed in such a way to handle just about anything I already know how to do, and is ready to take on the things I don’t know how to do…yet. I feel encouraged to try new things/techniques, because I now have the right tool to do it. I know this is vague, but I did say it’s a feel-type observation. My Takeda gyuto is fun: it cuts great, and I would never give it up. But the HD just does everything (slicing, chopping, delicate work, etc.) better.
Ok, time to put away my new age crystals and stop with the whole “me and the blade are one and this is how it makes me feel” ramblings. This is a beautifully made piece of steel.
Dealing with Jon is an absolutely top-notch experience. He will always work with you to get you what you want, and steer you away from the things you may not be ready for. Thanks Jon!
I had been looking for a Yanagiba when Jon opened his shop, and it so happened that I was able to be his first on line customer!
I would like to say that Jon was a pleasure to deal with, the transaction went smoothly, shipping was very prompt and the follow up has been a blast. Having a commercial transaction with someone who shares your passion for knives is the only way to go. Jons years of pro kitchen experience and knowledge of Japanese knives shows in his communications. Jon has been a great help in sourcing some other items I have been looking for.
So two hearty thumbs up for JKI and Jon!
As an avid knife fanatic, I would recommend Japanese Knife Imports to anyone interested in high performance knives. Jon's knowledge of of Japanese knives outstanding, he can answer any question you might have. The customer service I received here is top notch, the most personalized service I have ever received. Jon's selection of Japanese knives is superb and growing. I can't wait to see what he brings in!
Over the years, I've bought several Japanese knives from just about all of the well-known retailers who specialize in Japanese cutlery. My experience with Japanese Knife Imports ranks right up there with the best of them. Mr. Broida is very knowledgeable about the knives he sells, and stands behind his products. The pricing is very fair and the shipping is fast. Customer service is very personal, with the kind of individual attention you'll only get from a smaller company. Japanese Knife Imports is definitely off to a good start.
Got my Konosuke 240 White #2 in today’s mail.
The look and feel have exceeded my expectations, outstanding knife.
However I am even more impressed by the level of service provided by Jon and Japanese Knife Imports.
All questions answered promptly and accurately, very personable, good price (IMO), solid packaging, ordered after lunch on Friday and in my hands, California to Kansas before lunch on Monday.
Jon, I'm afraid you may have set your service bar to impossible standards!
Thanks for a great buying experience.