The nightly pasta special was farfalle ($10.95), sauced with shiitake mushrooms, sausage, and marinara sauce -- an honest and simple preparation lacking that special twinkle. Even so, it was swiftly and completely eaten, the wide, shallow bowl wiped clean of the last traces of sauce.
Yet another little bowl we scraped clean had reached the table containing mango creme brulee ($5). My heart sinks a little when I see creme brulee on menus these days -- yet another one! -- but Eleven's version, though not tasting much like mango, was a smooth, firm custard topped with a thick layer of broiled sugar and (the real treat) a pile of vividly red macerated strawberries in a neat dice. Promise of spring to come.
It is rare that the street is quieter than the adjoining restaurant, but stepping out of Eleven onto 11th Street was almost like entering a sensory deprivation chamber -- eerily peaceful, and a reminder that everything is relative. Even noise.
Eleven, at 374 11th St., serves lunch and dinner Sunday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. until 11 p.m., and on Friday from 11:30 a.m. until midnight. On Saturday, dinner only is served, from 5:30 p.m. until midnight. Call 431-3337.