I have found the Calphalon Contemporary line to be great knives for the money. They cut well, have comfortable ergonomic handles, and are well-balanced. I also like that the handles are big enough for a man's hand.
They are made of fully forged German steel in China. I have found 7" santoku and 8" chef's for $15-20 in stores like TJ Maxx, Home Goods, and Marshalls. (I'm in CA)