The latest issue of Gourmet has an article about greasing palms to gain entry when a reservation can't be had. The writer showed up in person at well-known restaurants at primetime and was told there was nothing available. Upon giving a $50 handshake to the maitre'd, he got quickly seated at EVERY PLACE he went to except Ducasse. Some of his conquests: Le Cirque, Daniel, Le Bernardin, Nobu, Lespinasse, Union Square Cafe, Balthazar (I think), among others. Not all places accepted his money, but most did, and the ones that didn't still got him a table and were well tipped after the meal. Funny thing was that the guy was often seated just minutes after being told that the place was booked solid.