Sinal: The Art of Waiting

June 21st, 2010 Permalink

On the first night we follow some recommendations to a restaurant in the Bairro Alto called Sinal Vermelho. The food is fine but what really leaves a lasting impression is the wait for the table. People pile in the doorway, wait for beers, and every so often harass the headwaiter/maitre d’, who refuses to write […]

On the first night we follow some recommendations to a restaurant in the Bairro Alto called Sinal Vermelho. The food is fine but what really leaves a lasting impression is the wait for the table. People pile in the doorway, wait for beers, and every so often harass the headwaiter/maitre d’, who refuses to write down any names and only deigns to bring you a beer after you’ve been waiting for a good long while. There are lots of empty tables but he’s one of these perpetually harried souls who is forever rushing back and forth, (I think) accomplishing little. At first we think we’re getting the cold shoulder because we’re obviously foreigners among a clientele that is almost all Portuguese, then I witness his interactions with other people waiting and I realize that’s just his way of doing things. When he finally waves us over to a table his demeanor changes completely–we’ve gone through the hazing ritual and now he can welcome us into the fold.

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