Inconsiderate or acceptable?

Hey everyone. This is my first post here, though I’ve been reading the boards a while. I probably won’t post often, but I just felt the need to vent about something and get some opinions on it. Since I have no one else to vent to, I have turned to the wisdom of The Straight Dope. So here goes:

I received an invitation to a birthday celebration for a good friend that is being held at a sushi restaurant. This particular sushi restaurant doesn’t really have any non-sushi selections. I have never eaten sushi, nor will I ever eat sushi, and I’m quite sure this friend knows that. It’s possible that at least a couple of the other people who were invited don’t eat sushi either, but I’m not sure about that.

Anyway, after pointing out in the invitation that the restaurant had practically nothing to offer for non-sushi eaters, she also mentioned that if you don’t like sushi, you’re welcome to eat before you come and just be there. Now I know that the birthday person wants to pick the venue, and wants it to be someplace that she really likes (and she LOVES this restaurant…she apparently eats there at least once a week), but doesn’t this seem just a little inconsiderate of the people who are invited? Shouldn’t she pick a place that has something for everyone? There are several good places nearby that offer sushi along with other Asian foods that non-sushi eaters would like. And is it not just a little bit rude to put that line in about eating before you come? The attitude seems to be “This is where I want to go. If you don’t like it, tough, eat first and come anyway.”

So do you think she’s being inconsiderate to her potential guests, or is she allowed to go where she wants to since it’s her birthday?

I’d say inconsiderate. If you haven’t already accepted the invitation, now might be a good time to find a convenient scheduling conflict so that you can’t go.

Meh, it’s her birthday. Eat beforehand, have some drinks with your friends, have a nice time.

I personally don’t think that when you throw a birthday party you have to make sure every single person has all their needs met. The point is the getting together, not necessarily the eating.

I mean, lots of people throw parties and try to appease everyone, and that’s great. But you don’t have to - especially on your birthday.

I can understand feeling irritated and disappointed that you’ve been invited to a restaurant where there is unlikely to be anything you want to eat. But I also sympathize with the birthday girl. Sometimes, and I think your birthday is one of these times, you should be able to go to exactly the restaurant you want, and not worry about picking a place that will please everyone. In my experience, picking a place that will be OK with everyone just ends up in an OK meal. She seems to want something that she finds more special than that for her birthday.

She is allowed to go where she wants to even if it’s not her birthday. Anyone she invited who does not want to go to this particular restaurant is free to turn down the invitation. It’s a birthday party, not a kidnapping.

As someone who often ends up in a restaurant with little for me to choose from, all I can say is, suck it up buttercup. You don’t have to show up. Either prepare ahead of time by eating first, or study the menu beforehand and see if there are any veggie rolls you can order. Edamame should be readily available, miso soup, and probably green tea ice cream at the very least.

You’ve never had sushi but you know you won’t like it. And you’re bummed that someone who wants to celebrate her special day isn’t considering your feelings.


If you are really a good friend, you’ll go to the party with the intention of trying something on the menu. I’ve never been to a sushi restaurant that didn’t have something non-sushi. There are non-sushi appetizers, non-sushi soups, non-sushi salads, non-sushi deserts, and non-sushi drinks. If you unable/unwilling to try even these options, then I don’t know what to tell you.

Is it that you hate seafood? Or you hate the idea of eating raw fish? Because you can be a fan of sushi without ever having to have a piece of raw anything touch your mouth. If you’ve never had it before, you might do well to see what it’s all about. You might–gasp!–really like it.

And no, the birthday girl isn’t out of line for wanting to go to her favorite place. That is the whole point of a birthday–to do whatever it is one wants to do. People compromise because of friends and family’s various issues and preferences all the time. A birthday should be the one day when this doesn’t happen.

You’ve never had sushi…try it maybe you’ll like it. I really don’t see it being a big deal about the restaurant. Grab a bite beforehand and go have fun with your friends.

To clarify, your position is that your friend should organize her birthday celebration around your preferences? Yeah, that’s not gonna happen.

It’s her birthday, ffs. If there’s one single night of the entire year you should get to eat at your very favorite place even if other people hate it, your birthday is that night. She’s trying to strike a balance between getting to have her birthday at her favorite place and minimizing the discomfort for people who refuse to even try the food there by giving fair warning there’s no hibachi or whatever. It’s not like she’s letting you show up starving only to realize there’s nothing in the entire place you’ll eat. That would be inconsiderate.

If it’s honestly that big a deal to you to have a sandwich at home and then join the party for sake and ice cream, then just stay home.

Hey, I’m a vegetarian, and I’ve had some great food at sushi restaurants. (Sure, some aren’t as accommodating, but that’s usually not the case.) It’s her birthday, and IMO the birthday celebrator should pick something that he or she will truly like.

Bloody hell, honestly where do people find the energy to whinge about this stuff?

If you don’t want to try sushi either go and just be there or don’t go, but don’t whine about it.

I’m going to add that the last time I went out with this particular group of people, they spent the entire meal looking at their phones and barely spoke 10 words to each other, so honestly, if there’s nothing to eat AND they’ll be spending the whole meal looking at Facebook or Twitter or whatever, what’s the point? I’m not asking if I should go or not go, nor am I making a big deal out of it, I’m really just asking what people think about the invitation.

And please don’t twist my words. When I said “allowed” I didn’t mean she had to ask President Obama for permission to go. I think you know what I meant there, I just didn’t find the right word to use.

Oh, and I haven’t tried sushi because I don’t want to. Much like the birthday girl is going to a sushi restaurant because she does want to.

She could be more considerate of her guests. Nevertheless, it’s her birthday and many people see that as a once-in-a-year opportunity to be self-indulgent to a degree beyond what they would normally do.

Try to look at it this way: She has invited you to a get-together and celebration, which means she would enjoy your company there. She has combined it with an opportunity to share a particular type of meal that she favors. If you don’t care for the meal portion, you can still go for the socializing. Try to time your arrival for when dinner is ending, and you could have a drink and maybe dessert with the group. You can all have a good time.

If something like this were the case often, it would be pretty lousy. But if it’s just once a year for a chance to be a little self-centered on one’s birthday, I’d say give her a break.

On preview, I see that maybe the socializing will be minimal, which is a shame. Might understandably be a significant factor in whether you choose to go, but my answer is the same in principle.

I’d say suck it up, but also if your problem with sushi is the raw fish part, you should know there’s plenty of sushi that does not contain fish, and some evn has cooked fish.

Well, I agree it’s not the most all inclusive choice she could have made, but meh to the outrage; it’s her party, go or don’t. My advice would be to try the sushi, maybe call ahead and see what they have, not all sushi contains raw fish.

I’m old school enough to wonder who is paying for this … is it birthday girl, or is she just mining for company on her birthday and expects the ‘guests’ to pay their own way?

Because if it’s the latter, and everyone spends their time looking at their phones to boot, I can’t think there’s much reason or reward in bothering to even reply to the ‘invitation,’ much less actually show up, regardless of the food.

If she’s truly hosting - meaning she’s paying the tab - then you do need to give her an answer. If this is just not your thing, it’s OK to simply say you have to regretfully decline as you have other plans - and you are under no obligation to say what those plans are.

I’m still trying to come to grips with the idea that someone won’t even try sushi…
but to answer your question: perfectly acceptable. HOWEVER – sitting at a sushi bar is not conducive to conversation when a group is dining, because you can only talk to the person on your left or right. And if everyone has got their noses in a phone, I’d go somewhere else, like the bar, where I’d strike up a conversation with the sushi chef, and see if I couldn’t get a little sabisu…

Everyone pays for their own, always. I’ve never been to a gathering with friends at a restaurant where we didn’t all pay for our own, birthday or not.

And there is no outrage, outlierrn…I was a little bit annoyed about it, but I didn’t go throw a hammer through the wall screaming the birthday girl’s name. Okay, there might have been some outrage when the thread suddenly became all about my not trying sushi, which is not the point by the way, but I suppose I’ve read this site long enough to expect that to happen.

If a friend invites you to dinner at her home or in a restaurant, it’s not very nice to critique the menu. The hostess gets to set her menu, and her guests should accept for the sake of the company, not for the food.

This, of course, assumes you are going to be a guest; if this is just an invitation to buy a meal at a place and time of someone else’s choosing, the menu is the least of the issues.

There is nothing wrong with the invitation. If she had chosen a restaurant with mass appeal, the food snobs in the group would complain. If she had chosen your favorite type of restaurant, then people who dig sushi would complain. She’s not required to do a Doodle poll before setting up her own shindig.

Besides, sushi is quite popular. It’s not like we’re talking about exotic cuisine from an obscure part of the globe. Everyone and their gramma nowadays has at least tasted it. She may have assumed that you and your friends would like it enough for it not to be a major deal. And I’m betting her assumption is true for most of her other friends.