KORIN JAPANESE TRADING CORP.
57 Warren St.
Every chef knows the importance of a really good knife. What separates pros from amateurs is that they know where to buy the best. Korin, formerly to-the-trade only, opened to the public about two years ago and stocks well over 500 models of knives, imported from Japan and forged in centuries-old family factories. Most of the knives are sharpened Japanese style, on one side of the blade only, using techniques developed by samurai sword-makers (there are also some Western-style knives). In addition to being crafted from performance-oriented combinations of high-carbon steel and alloys, many knives are equally exquisite as art—with handles sculpted from water-buffalo horn or ebony, embellished with inlaid gold, or intricate lacquer work, and blades incised with fanciful kangi ideograms. Prices average about $100 to $350, although they start as low as $60 and soar just past $4,500. Resident master sharpener Chiharu Sugai is available to retool the blade (although that costs $25 to $50) when it gets weary.