Game theorists say that, if you intend to tip well, you should do it before the meal. Which my friend Ophir does, at least at sushi restaurants. He'll sit at the sushi bar, slip the chef $50, and order Omakase - "at the chef's discretion". I've seen him do it several times when we've met for dinner, and each, the sushi served has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Ophir is vocal in his praise and appreciation as well, which spurs the chefs on even further. And whenever he orders a bottle of sake - something that, over the course of one of our average dinners, we do several times - he pours a glass for the chefs.
Which is how, a few months back, we found ourselves still sitting in the back of Bond St. Sushi, the restaurant long since closed, presented with course after course of ever more inventive and expertly prepared sushi and sashimi.
And, at the end, the coup de grace: a piece of fugu, each.
Fugu, from Takifugu, a Japanese pufferfish of the genus Diodon. A fish famous because its internal organs contain lethal amounts of tetrodotoxin. Prepared right, with just a bit of the toxic liver lining the meat, a small dose of the poison supposedly provides an unparalleled taste and texture sensation. But, a bit too much, and the poison paralyzes the diner's muscles, leaving them fully conscious as they slowly asphyxiate.