I do agree that a negative that "gives you what you want" is the best. This was part and parcel of Ansel Adams' teachings, the zone system was designed to make printing easier and improve quality.
An important part of that system is pegging the shadow point to a very specific point on the film curve, essentially as low as possible where you can still get the detail needed.
Adams wasn't looking for a buffer, he had fully tested and found his own EI's. He knew exactly how to meter for and get what he wanted. This minimum exposure method is also taught, with caveats, by Dunn & Wakefield in "Exposure Manual".
I do also agree that there is no one best exposure method or placement regime that suits everybody. Each of us need to figure out what works best for ourselves.
My aversion to simply adding extra exposure as a buffer is purely practical.
My metering practices are well practiced, when I miss its normally a doozy, like thinking I'm shooting Delta 400 at 3200 and having fP4 in the camera, 1-2 stops of buffer isn't going to fix the shadow detail there.
I also don't think most people will give up speed for extra shadow detail. Personally I like photographing people, boats, and other non-fixed stuff in low light, or in motion, and on MF and LF film. My subject matter and smaller relative apertures that come with the larger formats pose a time problem for me and many others. Even where I can hold the camera still with a tripod my subjects are still prone to wiggle. I'm not real happy when shutter speeds get real long.
Given my situation, I won't give up any shutter speed just to have a little extra shadow detail I'm not planning to use.
Just remember, exposing less (a stop or two, or three) will provide better highlight separation and leave shadows either black or very, very underexposed. That is what you want on pictures like you posted. Of course, with underexposure, development must increase in order to get what you want. What you DO NOT WANT is to give normal exposure and then cook the film in the developer. You will then achieve a nighmare of density and distress. - David Lyga
If the OP is picking, then placing, his or her chosen shadow point specifically for the print expected, as any zone system adherent might, then the OP is correctly exposing. That is not to say that that placement choice is even remotely close to the placement choice we might make.
Underexposure only "happens" when shadow detail wanted isn't caught.
Following on that line of thought, adjusting contrast isn't indicated just because a lower exposure level is chosen. Raising film contrast won't necessarily help the OP print the delicate highlights wanted. Measuring or judging SBR is a better way to make that choice.