Following up on a Christmas gift of the CKTG sharpening set (Beston 500, Bester 1200, Suehiro-Rika 5K), my wife noticed I've been browsing Japanese knives lately and offered up a new knife for my upcoming birthday. I thought that by reading the descriptions and reviews on this site, along with reading the forum, I'd be able to pick out the perfect knife for myself. I've narrowed it down but find I'm having trouble deciding on the ONE.
For some background: I'm for the most part just a home cooking enthusiast, into everything from basic home cooking, to gourmet dinner parties, to real BBQ. I only have time to cook about 1 or 2 weeknites and maybe 2 more time on the weekend (including making my wifes favorite meal of the week: Sunday breakfast). I also cook for a local organization, once a week for about 10 guys (post-meeting dinner) plus a few times a year for anywhere from 20 - 100 people for various social events. I have zero formal training (although I did work as a prep cook in an italian restaurant for 2 summers in my college days MANY years ago). Therefore, my knife skills are OK but not great. I'm a real novice sharpener. I've used the stones a few times since I got them for Christmas, and I'm now at the point where the knives are actually sharper when I finish then when I started
My present "go-to" knife is a Shun Classic 7" Santoku w/ hollow edge, and everything else is inexpensive Calphalon western knife sets (1 for set for home and one for the road). I think the Gyuto is the right next knife for me, and going to the 240 (instead of the 210) will give me good jump in size from my 7" Santoku. I like the wa style handle on the Shun both for comfort and looks, so only want to consider wa Gyuto's, and prefer a dark (ebony or rosewood) handle over the look of the ho-wood. I tend to be a traditionalist, so am most interested in a carbon steel blade - even though I know this means more care. One of my biggest issues is deciding WHICH carbon steel: Aogami Super, Blue #2, White #1 or White #2? My price range is $150-$250.
Here is my "short" list and thoughts:
1) Moritaka Supreme - Originally my leading choice, but some comments about this steel's hardness/brittleness have me concerned: I am a novice sharpener and knife weilder, after all.
2) Konosuke Fujiyama White #2 - The many great comments on Kono's quality has me interested in this one. I really like the buffalo horn ferrule. Just at the top of my price range. Is White #2 steel "good enough" for my purposes, or is it too difficult to take care of?
3) Konosuke White #2 - Appears to be a budget (less refined) version of item 2 above. Price is definitely attractive, so might be the sweet-spot for a novice like me, but it's only available in ho-wood handle.
4) Moritaka Blue #2 - This is where I was leaning after I was scared off by the AS steel of item 1. Is Blue #2 a better option for a novice then AS or White 2?
5) Tojiro ITK - A fallback position if I just couldn't decide is to buy this with future upgrading in mind.
6) Konosuke Fujiyama White #1 - Would really have to stretch the budget to get to this one, so would only do it if this was offered as the absolute best fit for my needs.
As you can see, I'm very confused right now (I tend to overanalyze everything). So please, any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated !!!