Pros: Nice matchstick-size strips; easy to interchange the blades; great box attachment; very easy to clean
Cons: Limited in usefulness to firm-fleshed items; guard sold separately (and not very effective)
Rating: 3 out of 5
First published 12/5/2005
Review items courtesy of Rösle and Jardina Communications
I’ve always been impressed by Rösle in the past; their whisks are among my favorite simple kitchen utensils in terms of function and design. I was expecting to be impressed by the Rösle julienne slicer with box attachment. Thus it was with quite a bit of surprise that I found I really don’t like it that much at all. It isn’t a bad design, and in fact it has some great aspects to it. However, there are a few details I just can’t quite get past, particularly when there are other graters and slicers that don’t have those problems.
Design: The basic slicer is a long wide design. It has a looped handle at the end that makes it easy to grasp, and curved rubber-coated feet that make it stand well without sliding on your counter or cutting board. It’s made of stainless steel and has a cutout in the middle where you change out thick plastic panels that, together with the blade at one end of that cutout, determine what sort of cutting you’re doing. If you use the plain plastic panel you get slices. There are two plastic panels with vertical blades at different widths; these provide two different sizes of julienne slices. This part of the system looked a bit intimidating at first; the blades on the plastic inserts are not covered in any way, and I couldn’t find any directions for changing them in and out, so I was a little nervous about messing with them. However, once I figured that you just had to push upward on one side of the panel from the back to pop it out, I realized that the blades are extremely easy to change out.
Box attachment: The box attachment is clear and has an angled top. The slicer fits into it quite stably, snapping into place in rails along the sides. There are non-slip strips on the bottom of the box and this all combines to make for a very stable slicer. In addition, both slicer and box are very easy to clean. The surfaces are such that pretty much all you have to do is wipe them under water, even if they have something like dried-on potato starch on them (we deliberately let that sit a while to make sure this thing really was as easy to clean as it claimed). Note that this is not dishwasher safe, but it’s so easy to clean that it doesn’t really matter.
The negatives: So, if all of this is so great, why am I not so thrilled with this grater? For one, I decided to test its versatility on various types of foods. Sadly you really are pretty much limited to the firm-fleshed vegetables (such as potatoes and beets) depicted in the pictures that go with the item. Cheese runs into the blade and mostly crumbles unless it’s just the right consistency (gruyere pretty much worked; cheddar definitely didn’t). Citrus–both lemons and oranges–tear instead of slicing for the most part.
You might think that this is good, that it indicates that the blade isn’t so sharp as to cause major injury. However, as Alton once indicated on the show “Good Eats” with regard to kitchen knives, sharper blades often result in fewer injuries because you don’t have to push as hard with them. The same is true here. I had to push a bit hard even with the potatoes to get them to slice cleanly, and this grater/slicer has no guard of any kind to protect your fingers. I very nearly took the tip off of one of my fingers on a hard stroke where the potato caught a bit (yes, I still have the cut to show for it). In order to be at all safe I found I had to slice down maybe halfway through a potato and then cut the rest by hand, which really doesn’t help much when you have a lot of food prep to do.
The hand guard: I did obtain the sold-separately hand guard and gave it a try to see if it would solve some of the problems I had with this slicer. However, it didn’t do enough to change my rating. The small plastic “tines” that dig into the food don’t dig very deep at all, so it tends to slip gradually through the food you’re slicing. And since it grips entirely from the top, not at all from the sides, you have to push down even harder to keep a grip on the food, which is very tough on my hands (I have tendonitis) and makes the process even more prone to dangerous slippage. So while it does protect your fingers, it makes the rest of the process more difficult (and slow–it would have been faster to just use a knife).
It’s truly unfortunate that this grater/slicer is of such limited usefulness. That might be okay if this was a cheap one-off that you could afford to plunk down a few dollars on, but I expect more expensive equipment to be more versatile and to have better safety measures. If the grater/slicer works well for you then I can certainly recommend the box attachment without reservation–I had no complaints about it whatsoever. Its non-slip pads worked beautifully, its translucent material made it easy to see how much food you had sliced, and it has a good amount of space in it for holding food. However, I think there are probably better options out there if you’re looking for a slicer.
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