I am seriously considering quartz which is a man-made stone. It seems to be as durable as granite and I really like the look of it. My little sister used it in her kitchen and it has a very clean contemporary feel. I am nervous about it because of resale. I am worried that even though it is a high-end counter top material, most people in Utah would want granite.
I also considered concrete until I read about the maintenance, cost, and possible warping and scratching.
From the Movie Somthings Gotta Give. This is a soapstone counter top.
Soapstone seems to be the best possible option as far as looks and durability are concerned. You see it a lot in the design magazines and in homes back east. You couldn't find it here is Salt Lake when I built my house 3 years ago. But I ran into it at the Dal Tile slab yard yesterday and was really pleased. The only draw back to soapstone is that is expensive. When I say expensive, it is comparable to a grade 3 or 4 granite (approximately $80 a square foot). A grade 1 or 2 granite is approximately $40 a square foot. And it only comes in gray to dark black.
So based on all of this information - I will probally go with a grade 1 or 2 granite. It seems to be the most bang for your buck.