Calphalon just launched their LX Series line of cutlery and I have been playing around with a few pieces. Before you ask "Don't they make pots and pans?" let me say that I, too, was skeptical at the outset. Another line of knives?
Yes, another line of knives. And this one really impressed me. I fell in love, in particular, with the Nakiri, a traditional Japanese vegetable cleaver.
The straight edge is designed to slice, dice and julienne using a firm thrust forward, rather than a rocking motion. It is great for fruits and vegetables, and can also be used to thinly slice vegetables for sushi preparation or fancy-pants salads and garnishes. I have been using the Nakiri for everything but bread and tomatoes because I'm drawn to its weight and it feels great to use. Sure, it has a good sharp blade, which I expected since it is fully-forged premium German steel. A lot of knives can claim that distinction, but get the weight wrong. It's a well balanced knife that feels great in the hand.
I can't yet report on it's long-term durability, but I can say that the blade honed up very nicely after an afternoon of aggressive veggie chopping.
The only drawback is the LX Series's handles, which are a bit on the small side. I have pretty big hands, so after a lot of chopping, my hand cramps up a bit. Like sleeping on a twin bed in an old house, if only there was a squidge more room, the experience would be perfect. For smaller hands, it's a dream knife, especially at the price.
• Buy the LX Series at Amazon (8" Chef's Knife, $49.99, 5" Nikiri Knife, $39.99, 3.5" Parer, $29.99)
• Also available at Bed Bath & Beyond (set only), Bloomingdales, and Cooking.com.