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tipping sushi chefs

samtron608 Feb 25, 2008 07:24 AM

do you tip them seperately or just include the normal tip with the bill?

  1. Paul Weller Mar 9, 2008 09:04 AM

    I frequent a place where I tip in the jar. Chef Whoo knows me as a regular and will always hook me up. I don't over anylize like some people on these boards do about tipping. If I am out and having a good time I don't mind spending a few extra bucks. It puts the service people in a pleasant mood which makes the meal more enjoyable to me.

    1. m
      mrgaga Mar 4, 2008 08:34 AM

      I have been throwing a 10 in the jar in addition to my normal tip at my favorite sushi place and it has paid wonderful dividends. I always get complimentary sushi and special rolls that aren't on the menu.

      I have always wanted to buy them a drink but felt weird doing it... Anybody else do that?

      4 Replies
      1. re: mrgaga
        ricepad Mar 4, 2008 08:41 AM

        I'm not saying it's logical (mostly because it's not), but when I worked behind the sushi bar, customers who bought me drinks made more an impression on me than those that threw me a few bucks. A 10-spot, if I knew a customer was dropping it on the basket, would certainly get my attention, but I was usually too busy to make note of the denomination, so most of the time I wouldn't know until the end of the shift whether it was a one, a ten, or a hundred (hey, I can dream, can't I?). I think the drink thing resonated more strongly with me than money because it was different, and made the customer easier to remember.

        1. re: ricepad
          boltnut55 Mar 8, 2008 10:05 PM

          But is it okay for an employee to be drinking (I don't drink, so I don't know anything about sake) while working on the job with sharp knives? Just asking... :-) I mean like whether it's okay with your boss. I went out with a group of close friends in which the person who paid for the meal ordered a $600 wine (wasted on me, of course) and saved a glass for our server, who also happened to be his neighbor. The server waited until the end of the night (right before we left) before drinking it though.

          1. re: boltnut55
            justagthing Mar 9, 2008 09:27 AM

            The culture of a sushi bar is different than in other restaurants, so although I agree that drinking on the job is really a no-no in most cases, this is more like a custom in this particular type of restaurant.

            1. re: boltnut55
              ricepad Mar 10, 2008 09:38 AM

              My boss never minded when customers bought me drinks. He was usually my partner behind the sushi bar, and most of the time, they'd buy HIM a drink, too! As far as the safety issue is concerned, I never thought about it...but then again, a lot of the cutting was pretty much 'muscle memory'...the knife work was almost automatic...and I don't recall ever having enough to drink to acquire a buzz, either.

        2. sailormouth Feb 28, 2008 08:32 AM

          At nicer places I'll typically buy them a bottle of sake when sitting at the bar. I'll keep an eye out for the jar in the future.

          1. r
            ricepad Feb 27, 2008 08:11 PM

            As a former itamae, I can say enthusiastically: By all means, tip my brothas! And buy them drinks, too!

            1. stellamystar Feb 26, 2008 06:21 PM

              a couple bucks in the jar. It adds up for them - and it's not a lot to me. We go to this crazy sushi place where it comes out on a moving train - and those guys work as fast as all 40 people (they are in the middle of the "train") eat it.
              I also tip the server - but, since the chefs do all the work - server clears plates and gets tea - not as much as a normal server.

              1. a
                Alice Letseat Feb 26, 2008 05:08 PM

                Tip the chef...especially if you're a regular because, if so, you are very likely receiving finer pieces of fish, and even larger pieces of fish, lagniappes, special recommendations and overall 'VIP" treatment. Drop a couple of dollars or more in the tip jar...it's just polite!

                1. j
                  joaniebaby Feb 25, 2008 04:33 PM

                  Usually, if you sit at the sushi bar, the chefs and the servers each get a percentage of the tip. So, if you really want to tip the chefs, the jar is the place.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: joaniebaby
                    justagthing Feb 26, 2008 05:40 AM

                    Funny, most of the sushi places I go to do not have a jar at the sushi counter. OH, and yes, I tip them separately b/c I do not know how they split the tip and feel that they deserve the majority of the tip.

                    1. re: justagthing
                      scubadoo97 Feb 26, 2008 07:28 AM

                      Not being critical but just wonder why there is not the same feeling about other chefs? I understand when you are sitting at the bar you are getting a higher level of personal attention from the chef. Like if you were at a restaurant and sitting at the "food" bar with the chef on the other side asking what can I make for you. This would be an more intimate and personal chef/client relationship. But if you are at a table ordering in ths sushi restaurant, is there any difference from the sushi chef and the regular chef?

                      1. re: scubadoo97
                        justagthing Feb 26, 2008 02:52 PM

                        Sorry, never sit at a table, always at the bar. So maybe someone else could give you a better answer, but when you sit at the bar and are conversing with the chef and have very little interaction with the server, my tip goes to the chef. Not that the server is doing anything wrong, but they just seem to do less than if I was sitting at a table in any other restaurant. Many times I also get 'extra's b/c the chef sees how much I am enjoying his work. This occurred last night and was such a nice treat.

                        1. re: scubadoo97
                          ccbweb Feb 26, 2008 04:32 PM

                          We virtually always sit at the bar and always put a tip in the jar/box on the bar for the chef. We also tip the server as they're bringing tea, sake, beer, water, and sometimes appetizers or the occasional tempura.

                          Sitting at a table, we tip as we do at any restaurant with table service.

                    2. yumcha Feb 25, 2008 07:48 AM

                      I usually just include it in the bill, but sometimes will put an extra dollar or two in the jar on the sushi counter. It usually doesn't look like a tip jar, but if you ask a server they can tell you where to put it.

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