I'm an avid home cook and by no means a professional, however, I've been cooking with a classic German knife for years now and I've been itching to get myself a Japanese Gyuto. I've done a bit of reserach but its a crowded field and many of these knives aren't readilly available at local stores, so I thought I'd turn to you guys who seem to have an excellent grasp on Japanese Cutlery.
From my newbie research I've come up with a couple of candidates, which may or may not be rubish. I'm interested in a 240mm Western Style Gyuto preferably stainless steel. Edge retention and quality are the main factors although I do appreciate the esthetic look of Damascus style knives.
The candidates: Masamoto VG, Hattori HD, Mac Pro, Ryusen Blazen, Misuno UX. I'd like to spend up to $300, a bit more if its really worth it.
I will be purchasing a stone set along with the knife (probably the Norton Set.) Really appreciate your input on this matter guys.
P.S. I've also been considering pushing my budget up for the beautiful Hiromoto Tenmi Jyuraku Limited Edition Gingami No.3 Damascus Gyuto 240mm at JCK. Any thoughts on this knife?