Whatever good luck the numbers seven and 11 might bring, the Hyde Park group must've tapped into it. Because with their Aug. 7 opening of the instantly popular Eleven, Hyde now commandeers an impressive chunk of the Short North Cap. At this rate of expansion, by decade's end, the steak-heavy chain might well inhabit the whole Short North.

Whatever good luck the numbers seven and 11 might bring, the Hyde Park group must've tapped into it. Because with their Aug. 7 opening of the instantly popular Eleven, Hyde now commandeers an impressive chunk of the Short North Cap. At this rate of expansion, by decade's end, the steak-heavy chain might well inhabit the whole Short North.

I tease, but I do not begrudge Hyde's success; they deserve it. Their upscale seafood, beef and potent potables presented in snazzy settings obviously strike a sweet chord with our populace.

In unleashing Eleven, though, Hyde is staking out a new, less "steaky" claim - and leaving no trend unturned in the process. Literally attached to their Cap steakhouse, Eleven features only the au courant: small plates, fancy cocktails, wine flights and the powerful, barely legal drink absinthe. That's quite a lineup of hot topics there, and I must admit it's a string of hits I unabashedly enjoy.

I also enjoy Eleven's design. I'm a bit of a barfly (surprise!), and so I like that Eleven's smallish round tables and large swath of a handsome, underlit drinking counter refreshingly indicate this is not a formal dining room - it's more of a glorified tavern. But those glories abound.

Said glowing bar, with chocolate and vanilla swivel seats, juts right through floor-to-ceiling High-Street-peeking windows to also serve tipplers on a deluxe patio. Inside, there's lots of polished steakhouse wood and mood-setting, low-simmering amber lighting.

Eleven

591 N. High St., Short North

614-225-9611

Web: hydeparkrestaurants.com

Overall, Eleven's look conveys a lush, roomy space in which to indulge in pampering. But you will have to pay for it. Because while most things at Eleven cost less than $11, the rapidly mounting tally for successive drinks and snacks (and you'll want successive ones) can quickly escalate.

Servicewise, I've found Eleven's black-clad staff to be super-friendly and extremely well-versed in the menu. They seem to be experts at steering patrons through the metal-bound list, which flits around up-to-the-minute hot and cold "tapas-y" treats, stone-oven-baked pizzas with interesting ingredients (like lobster), designer sandwiches and some rather involved cocktails.

I liked most of what I tried, but found all of it to be of good quality. In the end, I'd say if you tend to make fast friends with the fabulous and trendy, then you might find Eleven to be your lucky number.

In the mix

Eleven dabbles in what it calls "molecular mixology," which here reads more futuristically than it actually drinks. Here's a few old and "new wave" cocktails I sipped.

Grand Absente Absinthe ($9): An ounce of this blast-of-anise, 138-proof green giggle juice came served ritualistically with an attention-getting, table-dominating, water-dripping glass mechanism and a sugar cube

Brulee Cherry Gin Rickey ($11): For all its "flaming bitters" claims, it's basically a lean, mean, gin-centric drink

Brulee Old Fashioned ($11): A great, fruity, dry and aromatic cocktail

I also tried some of Eleven's special "$4" (at happy hour only) cocktails.

French Martini: Came with a sherbet-like "citrus foam" on top, and was as sweet as punch

Citrus Caipiroshka: Like vodka-spiked sweet lemonade

On the plate

My menu adventures at Eleven

Spicy Crispy Tofu ($7): A triumph; three large, crispy-crusted wedges were perfectly fried and stacked above a mildly spicy, potently gingered, carroty sauce

Tuna Carpaccio ($7): House-made potato chips lent a (questionably necessary) fatty crunch to excellent, firm, rare ruby shingles of fish that were spice-crusted (included fennel seed) and served with a snow-white, freshly pickled fennel salad

Lobster rolls ($11): Two squat tubes were made of cleverly ironed-flat hot dog buns enveloping lots of decent lobster meat; complemented by house chips and a nifty "peperonata"

Thai Beef ($7.50): Firm, wispy noodles with thin slices of beef sported a nice, spicy kick but were overwhelmed by sesame oil

Salad Eleven ($6.50): Refreshing, pretty salad with brittle strips of fried prosciutto, manchego cheese and a thick, sweet, tart quince vinaigrette

Spanish Pizza ($10): Plump, salty green olives, spicy chorizo and slivers of garlic synergistically enlivened Eleven's thickish and puffy, yet snappy and toasty, pizza crust

Warm Lemon Souffle Cake ($7): A loose, citrusy mass with an unusual bitter finish was plopped onto a rectangular plate alongside a buttery caramel sauce and creme fraiche