Lettuce Entertain You and Evan Funke Open Tre Dita in Chicago

Who’s behind it: Tre Dita and the adjoining Bar Tre Dita are new endeavors from Evan Funke, the chef behind Los Angeles restaurants Felix Trattoria, Funke and Mother Wolf. Funke focuses primarily on Italian culinary traditions, particularly handmade pastas, and is the author of 2019 cookbook American Sfoglino. For the Tuscany-focused Tre Dita, he is collaborating for the first time with leading hospitality group Lettuce Entertain You, which oversees a portfolio that includes Wine Spectator Restaurant Award–winning RPM Steak, RPM Italian and RPM Seafood restaurants.

When it opened: Tre Dita and Bar Tre Dita opened on March 16, 2024, on the second floor of the St. Regis Chicago hotel in the Lakeshore East area of Chicago. 

The culinary approach: “My inspiration for Tre Dita is drawn from la cucina Toscana and its deeply rooted culinary and cultural traditions with emphasis on both the popularity of Renaissance court cooking and the food of the pastoral communities,” Funke told Wine Spectator via email. (The restaurant’s name, meaning “three fingers,” refers to the ideal thickness of the traditional bistecca alla Fiorentina.)

Dishes include house-made focaccia with rosemary, prawns in a salsa verde and hand-made pastas such as tortelli di zucca and tagliatelle with ragu. Funke and his team prepare many entrées over an open-hearth, wood-fired grill, including swordfish on the bone, roasted chicken with garlic and a bistecca alla Fiorentina. “My hope is that Tre Dita and Bar Tre Dita will be a welcome addition to Chicago,” Funke added.

[article-img-container][src=2024-04/restaurant-news-tre-dita-steak-041724_1600.jpg] [credit= (Eric Wolfinger)] [alt= Bistecca alla Fiorentina from Tre Dita in Chicago.][end: article-img-container]

What’s on the wine list: Wine director Kat Hawkins oversees an Italy-focused list of more than 700 wines. Hawkins emphasizes Italian grape varieties seen less often on wine lists in the United States, such as Lagrein, Schiava and Chiavennasca. “The most thrilling part is using our connections to introduce guests to wines they’ve never encountered before,” said Hawkins.

Guests will find wines from Tuscany, Piedmont, Lombardy, Campania, Sicily and beyond. This includes Montepulciano from Abruzzo’s Emidio Pepe (with vintages from the early 2000s), Amarone della Valpolicella from Veneto’s Romano Dal Forno and several vintages of Fontdodi’s Tuscan red Flaccianello and Antinori’s Toscana Tignanello.

Hawkins’ list also shows significant vertical depth, with multiple vintages of Canalicchio di Sopra Brunello and Gaja Barolo Sperss, among other bottlings. There’s also horizontal breadth, with several wines from Tuscany’s Tua Rita; guests can look to 30 sweet wines (primarily Vin Santos) and nearly 25 large-format bottles as well.

[article-img-container][src=2024-04/restaurant-news-tre-dita-bar-041824_1600.jpg] [credit= (Eric Wolfinger)] [alt= The bar of Bar Tre Dita, with wood paneling and warm lights.][end: article-img-container]

“Focusing solely on selections from one country might feel limiting at first, but through engaging with guests, we’re confident they’ll discover that Italy has it all,” Hawkins explained, noting that Tre Dita will host wine events in the future. “We aim to showcase this diversity with enthusiasm and a sense of adventure, ensuring that every visit is a journey through the best of what Italy has to offer.”

The design: David Collins Studio has designed the 130-seat Tre Dita with sienna, terracotta and gray Tuscan marble elements. The space features columns, archways, wrought-iron lighting fixtures, green banquettes and walnut paneling meant to create a Tuscan atmosphere, as well as picturesque views of Lake…

Source : https://www.winespectator.com/articles/restaurant-news-lettuce-entertain-you-and-evan-funke-open-tre-dita-in-chicago