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cutting the b-day cake in the kitchen or at the table?

i recently had a birthday party at a restaurant in venice, ca called beechwood. despite some really bad table snafu's they had (they insisted on minimum of 8 for table that only sat 6 at best) which is another whole other story, i was having a good time until...

it was time for the cake. my friend bought a big fancy cake from an outside bakery. when the cake was presented to me they had already sliced it in the back. i became a bit sad that i hadn't seen the whole cake and blown out the candles on top of the cake. i said something to our waitperson something along the lines of "shouldn't i have had the chance to blown out some candles on the entire cake?" then she said this was customary at a restaurant to slice the cake and proceeded to get really mad at me.

customary? is she kidding or am i just really out of it?

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  1. no way! That is JIVE! Bring the cake out, let the hoopla take place, THEN remove it and return neatly sliced for all to enjoy.

    1. This does not even get a score greater than 2 on the You Gotta Have a Better Lie Meter. The resto screwed up big time or everyone else who has accepted such behavior is a dolt.

      It's called a "Birthday Cake" not a "Slew of Birthday Slices."

      1. Did you proceed to smash a piece of it in your server's face after they got snippy?

        No way.

        1. Oh my gosh. Your friend should have been made aware of such a bizarre policy when she arranged to have the cake sliced at the restaurant.

          At the very least, they should have had a candle on your slice.

          But what they really should have done is brought the cake out for the hoopla. Part of the fun of a birthday cake is getting to see it whole! Why decorate it and write Happy Birthday on it if the birthday guy/gal isn't going to see all that?

          The restaurant screwed up, and was incredibly stupid for getting snippy with you after screwing up.

          5 Replies
          1. re: Pei

            ok, thanks guys. i thought i was going crazy as if i had been asleep this whole time and i missed some "new" trend. my friend who brought the cake thought they should have brought the cake out, let me have my moment. then take it in the back as well. screw the restaurant and the server!!

            1. re: trolley

              Happy Birthday...I'm sorry they screwed up your cake.

              Something similar happened to me, but I KNOW why they did it. I held an anniversary party for my inlaws at a restaurant. I was going to order a bakery cake, but they talked me into letting their pastry chef make it. Although I had planned for the guests of honor to cut the cake, similar to the ceremonial cake cutting at a wedding, it was done by the kitchen. The cake was SO INCREDIBLY SMALL, if the guests of honor had cut themselves each a piece of cake, 1/4 of it would have been gone. Each guest got a SLIVER, and it was the only dessert. I was PO'ed.

              1. re: trolley

                I really hope you said something to the owner/manager. If you haven't yet, you owe it to yourself to do it ASAP! They should be made aware of this incident.

                I would let them know that a. they screwed up your birthday cake hoopla, kinda ruining the moment/ dinner etc. and b. the server was a complete ass, be specific.

                Let us know what happens, I am curious as to his/her reaction.

                Happy belated birthday!

                1. re: Michele4466

                  we DID complain to the manager about the seating and the cake. she got completely defensive and indignant about the whole issue and treated me like i was from mars for thinking my cake should have been cut by me. then a good 5 minutes into the whole conversation she said there was some law about the knife being used by the customer not legal or some sort of made up story. i told her i've worked in restaurants in CA and had my birthday every year at a different restaurant and never heard of her "law". at that point i gave up and went back to my party. i wasn't going to have her ruin any more of what kind of went down hill.

                  1. re: trolley

                    I love the CA law part - does that mean steak knives are banned, as well?

                    What a load of BS.

            2. That's really horrible. :( To be honest, after several awful birthday party experiences with a big group dinner, from now on I tend to avoid attending, and never throw, big group birthday dinners. It drives the staff nuts and they get rude and ruin the atmosphere. Takes forever to get served, the food's usually cold, and the bill is an organizational disaster. Plus, they usually have weird policies on whether you can bring stuff from outside (and woe to the cake cutting fees!!!)

              Was the restaurant notified by someone in your party that that a birthday cake from an outside bakery was being brought to Beechwood, before the night of your party?

              2 Replies
              1. re: amandine

                yes, we called in advance to let them know about the cake b/c we wanted to know what the cake fee was. just a big boo on them! the food wasn't bad tho. i'm totally there with you on no more dinners at restaurants for my b-day. next year it'll be at my house catered by me and people can just bring presents and drinks.

                also to respond to amandine, our party wasn't that big. it was 8 people and there was a party of 20 next to us. a server should be able to handle an 8 top. if s/he can't handle it they should let their management know or maybe they're in the wrong business. i've served fine dining (or they tried to be) and 8 can be a lot but doable by one person.

                1. re: trolley

                  yeah that's nuts. i was picturing 20 based on what they did to you. i go out in groups of 8 all the time!

                  i've been meaning to try beechwood for a long time... but now i'm not so sure. we chowhounds need to stick up for one another. :D