Here are our top choices for Chef knives based on over 40 reviews on cooking cache. We gave extra weight to blade quality and edge retention. Handle fit and finish was also factored, along with balance and blade geometry. Here are our results.
Tojiro DP 210mm Gyuto: This is our top recommendation and overall best buy. The Tojiro 210mm Gyuto (chef's knife) has an excellent profile and geometry and a nice, comfortable western handle. Uses VG10 steel and is half the price of other knives in it's category. Slam dunk best buy for sub $200 knives. The knife was well balanced and light in the hand. Overall we really like this knife.
The Misono UX10 Chef knife received excellent marks based on quality, edge sharpness and edge retention. The Misono 8.25 inch Chef's Knife looks as good as it performs. The UX 10 line offers superior performance in a lightweight comfortable knife. We found the blade sharpness out of the box to be excellent and the ability of the steel to hold an edge was well above average. The only flaw we found was the tip which is narrow and overly sharp to its own detriment. Sliding the knife on a cutting board caught the tip on more than one tester.
Number 3 is the Masahiro Chef Knife. We found the knife to be beautifully made and carefully detailed. Fit and finish are excellent and the balance of the knife is outstanding. Masahiro's MVH's thin blade is constructed from MBS-26 stainless steel which we found to be easy to sharpen and holds its edge very well. The cutting edge is asymmetrical: 80% on the right side of the blade and 20% on the left side, then polished to a mirror finish. This tapered style edge reduces "wedging" for a perfect finished cut. The handles are incredibly smooth and rounded using a composite resin handle which feels great in your hand, plus it's much longer lasting than wood options.