Looking to purchase a new chefs knife that is not too expensive but still good. Does it exist?
Yes indeed! I favor a carbon steel knife made by Sabatier K - sharp as all get out, and pretty reasonable too. The only catch is that with carbon steel you have to be sure never to leave it wet for too long or it can rust/oxidize.
Cook's Illustrated did a review of inexpensive chef's knives a few years back. Their top recommendation was the Victorinox Fibrox 8" Chef's knife. http://www.amazon.com/Victorinox-40520-Fibrox-8-Inch-Chefs/dp/B000638D32
I love my Wustof Classic 10" Chef's. I also have it in 8" and 6". Yes, it is not an inexpensive knife, but I have seen them on sale at outlet stores or on line. You should check out the suggestions from Cook's Illustrated and keep an eye out for them.
I agree with hardlikearmour. I bought the Victorinox on the suggestion of Cooks' and like it very much. The grip is comfortable and the edge is excellent - it goes through everything, from tomatoes to squash to chicken, with ease.
I'd focus on two things. First, go to the store and put the knife in your hand. Does it feel comfortable? Everyone's hands are different. Second, maybe the most important thing, how are you going to keep the edge as you use it? I bought an Edgecraft chef's choice hand sharpener for about 20 bucks. Almost foolproof (you just pull the knife through the groove about 20 times) and it keeps the knife nice and sharp.
I have this hidebound distrust (disrespect) for CI and Kimball's lab rats, so factor that in here. But I am a serious knife guy. I agree with TedL on the point that a knife has to feel good in your hand and I have over 50 knives hanging around. These days I really like Japanese knives. A good Shun knife will last a life time, although it does cost around $100, and you can go higher. Japanese knives really hold an edge. On aspect that some people might consider a drawback; they don't have a bolster, it's all knife. Western knives do typically have a bolster at the front the handle where it meets the blade. The price on Japanese knives could soon skyrocket because of the supply chain.
Buy American whenever possible....that said, I have no clue if there are any good American Knife products?
@lapadia, unfortunately, while your intentions are very commendable, there simply are *no* decent American-made knives. Of any sort. Period. Not chef's, not paring, not bread, not carving, not boning. None. Either European or Asian are the only sources of quality. American made knives are stamped, rather than forged, and of low-carbon steel that will not hold an edge. They also come from the factory far less sharp than the European and Asian options, and cannot be re-sharpened to a good edge. The steel is simply too soft, and the edge will curl over. The first time you cut anything with one, and it hits the board, the edge will be gone, never to be reclaimed. Sad, but true.
@RobertaJ - Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge, it is truly appreciated, and I agree with your last words..."Sad, but true"