The Best Things
The Best Stuff. The Best Service.
A review by boar_d_laze written on May 14, 2007Full review
I ordered 7" Nogent Cook's, a 6" Nogent slicer, and a 5" carbon Sabatier boning, and paid for them by check. Two days after mailing the check, The Best Things notified me the knives were sent. By check, mind you.
The knives arrived promptly, well packed, all in order.
The Nogents are incredibly light and nimble. Although the factory edges were at least good. I beveled them to a tighter (15*) bevel, then resharpened them. They take a sharper edge than any kitchen knife I've ever used. I haven't used the slicer enough to comment on its edge holding ability. But the little cook's knife has done about the equivalent of half a day on the line -- two weeks in a home kitchen, and I haven't noticed any dulling yet. The spines are quite square but I haven't got around to relieving them yet. Because both Nogent knives are short they don't need a full tang to balance at the bolster.
The carbon Sab is ... well ... a carbon Sab. The factory edge was, again, good. Sharp enough, but set too wide. I've boned out a couple of dozen chicken thighs since re-beveling and sharpening. I like the feel of the rosewood handle and the blade is excellent. Compared to my K Sabatier au carbone knives the Elephant Sabatier fits right in. Prettier handle though.
All of these knives are meant to be kept for a lifetime. The Nogents are made from pre WWII blanks and are historically significant straight from the box. You could say that the Elephant carbons as a quality carbon knife from a major manufacture is too. There are very few being made now, and I doubt it's going to last much longer. History aside, the price and quality of the knives means they're meant to be sharpened -- that means the quality of the factory edge is of no real importance.
These knives all had decent edges out of the box. Sharp with the odd rough spot, one of them dull by the bolster. But, certainly good enough to use. That doesn't mean you shouldn't resharpen (or have them resharpened) as soon as you can -- and to a better bevel.
If you love cooking, cookbooks, the history of cooking ... you owe yourself one or two of the Nogents. Whether or not you'll give them any use depends on whether or not you like a light knife. I can't believe how much I like using them.
I've journeyed from French to German and back to French style knives. I prefer French for their lightness and more nimble shapes. Carbon accentuates the lightness. Elephant carbon Sabatiers are one of the few best lines of modern knives for the professional or the home chef having (or learning) good knife skills.
Actually, the Nogents seem to be better. I don't know how well those handles will hold up, though. There must be some reason the style changed.
Carbon's not as much trouble as you'd think either. Stains come off pretty easily with a Scotch-Brinte (one of those semi-abrasive green cloth things). Still, they should be rinsed and wiped after every use, and after every few minutes of cutting something really acid -- onions for instance.
To sum up: I'm going to order two more Nogents from The Best Things.
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