+1 more with the Richmond Addict recommendation. If your budget extends to ~$200, as good as it is for the price, you can do much better than an Artifex.
Just looking at some yo-gyuto possibilities...Western handled stainless knives you might like
- MAC Pro;
- Masamoto VG; and
- Sakai Takayuki Grand Chef
All three are excellent choices for a first, really good stainless knife.
The Grand Chef takes a slightly better edge than either of the other two, but not so much that anyone but a really dedicated sharpener would notice. It isn't quite as comfortable and doesn't handle as well the other two, and even though the differences are small I'd put it third on the list.
Between MAC and Masamoto, I would choose the Masamoto over the MAC for myself because the Masamoto profile suits my already-set-in-concrete action; but recommend the MAC far more often for its better quality control, better factory support, better OOTB edge (important to many people) and because its profile is just fine if you aren't stuck with my personal history.
If you buy from CKtG you have Mark to lean on, and factory post-sale support becomes much less of an issue. Nevertheless, worth repeating that MAC USA (in the person of Harold) is outstanding in that respect.
When it gets right down to it, the easy-care advantages of stainless steel make it worth its disadvantages vis a vis
carbon for most users. Not for me though, and maybe not for you. Western handled carbon
- Masamoto HC; and
- Misono Sweden
Each of these has better edge taking and holding qualities than the stainless knives. However, they're carbon, and require that you care for them accordingly. The Masamoto is not terribly reactive as carbon knives go, but the Misono is. There are ways of dealing with reactivity which don't require some, but not much, extra care. However, be advised that you need to take care of carbon knives immediately. Procrastination will be punished.
The Misono is a spectacularly good knife, but the Masamoto is so close to perfect it's boring -- damn near.
If you decide on a Masamoto HC -- or any Masamoto western handled knife -- make sure to have Mark check to make sure that the handle is not cracked, and fits smoothly around the tang without gaps or swelling.Western handled semi-stainless
Great knife. Everyone loves it. If you don't want to deal with carbon's drawbacks but want the benefits, it's probably the best overall yo-gyuto in your price range.