Now, I am at home. If anyone wants to know how Kenji himself defended his recommendation:
This is Kenji from Serious Eats here. I appreciate your concern about the site, but actually the new owner of the site (Fexy Media) has had exactly zero input in editorial decisions, and as a policy, editorial and ad sales are separate teams that don’t communicate other than for basic logistical reasons. Misen and Serious Eats have no relationship at all (and to be frank, as a kickstarted company that was just trying to raise $25K, they wouldn’t have had the funds necessary to advertise on Serious Eats even if they wanted to). Our ads are always clearly labeled and put together by a different team. Editorial content is created by the editorial team and is uninfluenced by any kind of externalities.
I wrote about this knife because I tested it myself and thought it was a great product. I admit I forgot to include dimensions in the review. I am in the middle of a book tour for my first book (yay!) and I wrote the piece more hastily than I would have liked, but I wanted to get the piece out before their kickstarter early backer period ended so our readers could have a shot at the $45 and $55 backer prices for the knife.
As far as some specific questions people had, in comparison to a tojiro DP, I find the design to be much more conducive to your typical western cook. It is light and nimble enough to do precision tip and chopping work with, but it also has a deeper curve than a tojiro, which makes rock chops and your average western cook’s slices more easy. It’s a hybrid shape that leans closer to Western.
I also prefer the bolster design with its back slop that makes gripping the blade more comfortable and easier. I see many home cooks who have trouble getting used to the blade grip, and I think this design will help them get there more intuitively. One of my other favorite mass market knives, the Misono UX-10 has a similar bolster design, which is what draws me to it in my drawer.
The metal is harder than some german steel, softer than some other Japanese, but I think it strikes a good balance between not being overly brittle and being easy enough to sharpen well. You always have to consider the needs of someone who doesn’t think about or isn’t willing to sharpen a knife themselves and how long that edge is gonna last them. This one is a good balance.
The name is “Misen.” I thought it was a reference to “mise en place.” I’m not sure where it actually came from. The similarity to misono I guess is there, but it wasn’t my first thought.
ANYHOW, as someone who’s actually held it in my hands and has been using it regularly, I can tell you that at least for me, it’s super comfortable, easy to manipulate, and really that’s what matters most when it comes to a chef’s knife.
KitchenKnifeForums Kenji’s defense of Misen knives