Pros: Surprisingly versatile; large; cool-looking; folds up
Cons: Not quite so easy to fit large pots in; a little tough to snap utensil tray on and off; expensive
Rating: 4 out of 5
First published 1/17/2005
Review item courtesy of Cuisipro and Jardina Communications
My first thought when I saw the Cuisipro dish rack with drain tray was that it was probably very useful–for dinner dishes. You know, plates and bowls and things like that. It didn’t look terribly useful for people who cook a lot, which we do.
This serves as a great example of why it’s so important to use things before reviewing them, because sometimes first impressions can be very wrong.
I’m getting the sense that Cuisipro’s designers actually cook. Not only that, but they extensively play with their new toys, and take real time to try to think of truly new and valuable ways to improve on old devices. I’m repeatedly surprised by the ways in which they’ve taken what seem like straightforward items that have hit the limit of useful design, and improved on them in small yet significant ways.
First let me try to describe Cuisipro’s dish rack. Bear with me; it’s a little odd-looking so this may take a bit of doing. It’s extra-large, and does take up a bit of counter-space. The drain tray that goes beneath it is two-part: a top with drain holes in it that fits over a solid bottom; it has a pour spout that you position over the edge of your sink so draining water can go into the sink.
The top V of the rack holds most shapes of dinnerware quite well; some thicker types of plates or dishes with high edges won’t fit in the narrow slots however. Because it’s so large you can also rest other things up here; for example, I can easily fit the coffee pot and brew basket from the morning’s coffee alongside a handful of other things. If you use wine glasses a lot you’ll love one nifty feature: the ends of the metal prongs have a thick plastic coating, and they’re sized and shaped so you can slide wine glasses upside-down into them by their stems.
There’s also a lower rack that serves as one lower leg of the “X” shape. It curves lightly so you can rest things on it, or fit small plates between the metal bars. It also folds upward, so you can fit things under it if need be.
Drain pan: First note: because the drain tray has a pour spout that water flows through rather than sheeting down the entire thing, water is less likely to end up all over your counter. Yay!
Secondly, the drain tray itself serves as part of the drying rack. One side of the “X” of the drying rack leaves room underneath it for dishes. You can easily fit mugs, cups, measuring cups, and even small pots flat on the drain tray here.
Utensil cup: You can fit a surprising number of utensils in the three-chambered cup. The plastic surround is translucent, so you can see any small items you may have left in there to dry.
Materials: The dish rack, tray and cup are made of stainless steel and hard plastic. They’re durable, attractive and easy to clean. The drain try cleans up quite well with just a sponge, a sprinkling of baking soda, and some water.
One down-side to this product is that because you don’t have the large, flat area of the normal dish rack, it’s harder to deal with large pots. However, you can fold up the dish rack (or simply move it) and place pots right on the drain tray, which is designed to act as a secondary drying rack. Also, you can’t really fit much in the way of pots in a normal dish rack either, and drying a pot or two by hand isn’t that big a deal.
The other thing is that I found it difficult to attach the utensil tray. One side has to be snapped over the edge of the dish rack, and with my tendonitis that proved too tough. My husband had no trouble with it, but I’m not going to be mucking with it without him around.
We’ve gone from thinking, “nice for people who don’t cook, but probably not for us,” to “okay, throw out the old dish rack. We’re sticking with this one.”