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Mandolines revisited

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I've been a lurker for a while, but now I have a question. I have read everything I could on this site and others about peoples' preferences for brands of mandolines. I believe I have my choice down to 2 models but could use some help.
First of all, I am a home chef who will be using the mandoline occassionally, for slicing and julienne. (I have good knife skills, but sometimes time savings is important to me). I have looked into the Benriner, which seems to be favored by many. Also, in my reading (and I do not know if this is cause for flaming in this forum, so feel free to if you must...) I have seen that Cooks Illustrated rated the OXO V blade as their top pick due to performance as well as safety. I plan on using caution with either model, as well as cut resistant glove. The Benriner was right up there in the ratings as well. Waffle cuts don't really matter much to me so even though the OXO can make them, it is not a deciding factor. Does anyone have any experience with the OXO? Can either model do matchstick julienne? Both are priced similarly. Any advice is welcome.
post #2 of 12
My only experience with mandolines has been with the benriner. So I can only tell you about them.

1) The face of it is well grooved, so your veg will slide easily.
2) I liked that you could adjust the thickness to your liking...instead of being confined to preset cutting heights.
3) I like the general size of it and ease of use. You can just pull it out of your tool kit or drawer, and it is ready for use. No need to unfold legs...no need to secure the feet to a non-slip surface. Just pull it out and start slicing. It is also relatively flat, so it will take up less storage space. some of the other brands of slicers that I have looked at are arched in the middle, have some sort of non-collapsable feet or handle, and are fairly wide. Not so much with the benriner.
4) The benriner was sturdy enough for moderate professional use. I was taught to prepare certain dishes on a daily basis in a fine dining restaurant on a benriner (thin slicing potatoes). It held up very well and did a great job. And since you are looking to use it for home use, it should be excellent!

The drawbacks?

1) There are no legs on it, so you must cut directly over your cutting surface or directly into a bowl, etc. I personally liked that aspect of it...it gives you freedom to decide how and where you want to do your slicing. Having to set up legs on a slicer just seems like a liability to me...but I could definitely be wrong about that.

2) there is no gauge to determine how thin/thick something will be cut. So you are basically left to fiddle with the thickness screws and make a number of test slices until you find the desired thickness. But it is easy to adjust...simply tighten or loosen the screws.

3) We only used it for thin slicing. So I cannot tell you how easy or difficult it is to install the specialized blades--like for julienne. I doubt it is difficult to change the blades, but I feel confident in saying that it is not necessarily a quick release, pop-in-pop-out kind of thing.

4) There are no other bells and whistles for the slicer. Doesn't look fancy, not secret compartments to store the extra blades, etc.

So, for moderate use, and ease of use, the benriner was excellent--and the price was very fair. But in all fairness, I have never been led astray by America's Test Kitchen's recommendations either. But for me, I don't want, or need a lot of features, and I want to save as much storage space as possible. hope that helps a bit!
post #3 of 12
Just to repeat, so there's no misunderstanding:

Next to a dull knife mandolines are the most dangerous tool in the kitchen! Always keep that in mind, no matter which one you choose.

That said, I have no experience with the V-slicer. But I've used the OXO regular mandoline for years, and am quite satisfied with it. One thing I personally like is that it completely breaks down for cleaning.

The blade (a combination straight edge and crinkle cut) is stationary, but the upper platform adjusts to determine thickness of cut. And you can do either fine or coarse julienne cuts with the turn of a knob.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #4 of 12
I haven't tried the OXO, but have used both sizes of the Benriner and prefer the smaller one because, though you might have to trim the food a bit to fit, the blades are more stable.
post #5 of 12
The benriner I have at home has replaceable blades that cut across, allowing you to julienne wide, medium, or thin. I've been told that there are clever ways to make the thing do waffle cuts, but I've never tried to figure it out, and I'm not sure it can actually be done.

Changing blades is a matter of loosening two simple thumbscrews; the blade slides in or out, and you re-tighten. A 30-second job, if that.

I don't know what the OXO costs, but the benriner is certainly cheap, and it has done good service for me for some years now. If the main blade should ever get dull, I don't know that it can be removed and sharpened, which might be a minus, but for a home cook who only uses it occasionally I doubt it's going to come up.
post #6 of 12
As far as I know you can't do waffle cuts with a Benriner. You can with a GSD though (same thing, but German instead of Japanese), providing you buy the gaufrette assembly. Maybe because they look so similar, people confuse the GSD with the Benrine. Quien sabe?

We have a Joyce Chen we bought on sale for $5 at Big Lots a couple of years ago. I can't tell you how well it works, because it's never been out of the box.

post #7 of 12
>I don't know what the OXO costs,.....<

Don't know the current cost. I paid 60 bucks for mine, several years ago.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #8 of 12
my OXO, the one with the stainless, and the straight blade.....pretty much sucks. It's just not that sharp....it's ok for somethings, but I even have a time doing uncooked potatos. Perhaps my technique is off. For this I rarely use it. Even carrots are a pain.
post #9 of 12

A mandoline blade is a knife, and, like any other knife, can be honed and sharpened.

Just be careful to maintain your blade angle.
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
They have taken the oath of the brother in blood, in leavened bread and salt. Rudyard Kipling
post #10 of 12
yeah, but out of the box, for most folks, it should be sharper, most folks aren't going to worry about sharpening it...heck, I have sharpening stones and don't even feel like sharpening it haha.

for the 60$ i'd rather buy 3 of the offset blade cheapie hand helds you can get from the restaurant depot store.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well, I went with the Benriner, got the glove, and so far I am very pleased with my choice. This thing is super sharp- glad I got the glove!
post #12 of 12
Congrats! I think that is a great choice! Which one did you get? the smaller one or bigger one? (I think the smaller one is greenish in color and about 7", while the bigger one is beige and about 11" )

Have fun with it and share with us the results you get from various recipes/slicing techniques/blades/etc.:bounce:
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