Just Opened: Knife, a Queen West shop devoted to the world’s best kitchen blades
Tucked into a diminutive second-storey space at Queen West and Tecumseth, Knife feels like an art gallery: high-end Japanese blades are laid out on blood-red felt backdrops and showcased in white display cases. As the name suggests, this shop is devoted to the one truly indispensable kitchen tool: the knife.
Owner Eugene Ong developed a fascination with knives while working as a sous-chef in some of the city’s top kitchens—Susur, Nectar, Kultura—and was struck by the high-end knife shops in Japan during a 2008 trip. He realized there was nowhere in Toronto to buy high-quality culinary knives or get them professionally sharpened. He decided to open this outfit to cater to local industry professionals and foodies who, until recently, had to shop on-line.
“I was definitely aiming for chefs and cooks,” he told us. “But I’ve been surprised by how many non-chefs have been coming in. After all, anybody who has a kitchen has a knife.”
Prices range from $90 for a basic kitchen blade to $450 and up for specialty chef’s knives, all crafted from such durable materials as white steel and chromium, and sourced directly from Japan from such trusted brands as Mcusta, Misono, Sakai, Suisin and Sugimoto.
The eight-inch Misono Oyuto chef’s knife ($250) has been the shop’s best-seller to date, Ong says, noting that Knife is already attracting kitchen talent from Cowbell, Czehoski, Lee and Noce. Chefs have also been taking advantage of Ong’s unique sharpening services ($10–$14 per knife): each knife is sharpened by hand on stone blocks soaked in water, a process that can take anywhere from 30 minutes to two hours.
“People just love these blades—even those who don’t cook professionally, they just love knives,” Ong says. “There’s something really sexy about blades—it’s just that whole samurai, Kill Bill kind of thing.”
Knife, 658 Queen St. W., 2nd flr., 647-996-8609, knifetoronto.com.
11 thoughts on “Just Opened: Knife, a Queen West shop devoted to the world’s best kitchen blades”
‘He realized there was nowhere in Toronto to buy high-quality culinary knives or get them professionally sharpened’… tisk tisk – this is a poor and incorrect quote. Nella Cucina has been selling high-end knives and sharpening knives BY HAND for over 55 years.
Just a little correction!! Nella Cucina on Bathurst is a spin off of Nella Cutlery & Restaurants Supplies on Norfinch, the outfit that is in the knife rental business. Nella Cucina has been around for only a few years, 3 maybe? They sell some good quality knifes but they do at highly inflated prices, like anything else they sell. Better off to shop at Louis on Queen or Tap Phong Trading on Spadina. BTW, the people working at Nella Cucina wouldn’t know a dull blade from a sharp one. JMO
Please research prior to commenting. This is not a forum to slander another company that is not mentioned in the article with incorrect info. Nella Cucina is not a ‘spin off’, it is actually part of the ORIGINAL Nella Cutlery – as was the Norfinch location. 4 brothers split the company in 4 many years ago (i was confused once, and had it clarified by a Nella Cucina employee) – Mississauga Nella Cutlery & Toronto’s Nella Cucina / Queen Street / Norfinch / Stoney Creek. Mississauga’s Nella Cutlery & Food Equipment opened a second location 5 years ago. I shop there all the time and the pricing and service is excellent. The staff and chefs are highly knowledgable – perhaps JMO you should attend their Knife Skills and Sharpening class on June 12… I am!!
I’m not here to bash anyone, really. I like Nella, their services and their products.
I have sent my knives to Nella, only to have them destroyed!
They should have known that a Japanese knife should not be sharpened by a machine. I have several chefs in the city that can vouch for me.
If you send your Nella brand knives there however, they will come back pretty sharp. Nowhere near as sharp as my hand honed Japanese knives, though.
DON’T send expensive knives there!
As for this new store, I wouldn’t send my knives to anyone I didn’t know. Learn how to do it yourself if you’re going to invest more than 250$ in a knife.
PS: This is a great service, though.
I should add that I use a diamond steel most of the time, so I’m being a hypocrite.
I’d send my knives here if I heard good things through word-of-mouth.
I agree on what people have said above —
nella is totally great …. if you dont give a rats ass about what you cut with
Just went to this store and its great. THE ONLY place in Toronto that carries high end Japanese knives. Finally.
I have searched high and low in this city and trust me, this is the place.
People, Mac, Wushtof, Globals don’t count as high end knives.
And sharpening by hand, means “sharpening by hand”. Whetstones only.
Just because you use your hands to hold a knife on a grinding wheel doesn’t make that hand sharpening. I think that thats a huge misconception with a lot of people.
I have had the misfortune of sending a knife or two to Nella in the past. And safe to say that giving my chef knives a serrated edge with a wheel doesn’t count as hand sharpening. Live and learn.
Haven’t seen this store sharpen yet, but it looks like its the real deal. Will try them out one day.
Lets face it ….All knives get dull; be it a $20 or $450 knife.Nella knows how to sharpen knives,its their business and passion since 1952.
As for the statement that ” Nella Cucina has been selling high-end knives and sharpening knives BY HAND for over 55 years”. Well, I am not sure if you’ve been into “Knife” yet (or understand that brands like Henckel, Global, Superior aren’t really considered “high-end” by most professionals) but i can assure you won’t find any of the blades at “Knife” in any Nella, Nikolau or Dinetz for that matter. In regards to Nella hand-sharpening knives, I am not too sure about that one either. As some who lives and cooks professionally in this city, I can say with some certainty that Eugene is indeed offering a service that hasn’t properly been offered in the downtown core for what seems like forever. Also, from enountering many of my contemporaries while in the store as well as hearing many others mention it, I can see/hear the same sentiments from plenty of others.
I am so excited for a knife store. I am stopping by today to see if I can add to my Kasumi collection. SO EXCITED! I love knives!
I am waiting to hear some comments from The Cripps, The Bloods, et al where they get their tools sharpened and how satisfied they might be. Thee truck with the clanging bell which was a fixture on the streets of Toronto a couple of decades ago have almost disdappeared. Too bad, they were a godsend to those of us that have a host of implements around the house that need sharpening.
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