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EWP2024_TreDita_Chicago-0939.jpg Eric Wolfinger
The interior of Tre Dita in Chicago.

Tre Dita brings Italian steakhouse fare to Marriott’s St. Regis Chicago

The restaurant — Italian for ‘three fingers’ — leads guests on spiritual trip into a Tuscan grandmother’s kitchen

Tre Dita and Bar Tre Dita opened in March at the St. Regis in collaboration with two-time James Beard-nominated chef Evan Funke and Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants. Tre Dita marks the Los Angeles-based Funke’s first Chicago restaurant.

Italian for “three fingers,” Tre Dita refers to Funke’s precise thickness of a properly cut Bistecca alla Fiorentina, which the cucina Toscana serves from its open-hearth, wood-fired grill, along with handmade pastas and more.

The restaurant is located on the second floor of the hotel — which was designed by award-winning architect Jeanne Gang — and offers views of Lake Michigan and the Chicago River in Chicago’s Lakeshore East.

“We never set out to create a steakhouse,” Kiran Pinto, managing partner of Tre Dita and Miru at the St. Regis, said. “The idea behind Tre Dita is to transport our guests directly to Tuscany—not to a Tuscan restaurant, but to serve dishes one might have in Nonna’s kitchen. Our dishes are a celebration of the land and familial culinary traditions of Tuscany. Beef is a big part of that culture, so it seemed like a natural fit for the Chicago market, where we also share an affinity for a perfectly cooked steak.”  

Perfect conditions for pasta

Central to the Tuscan authenticity of Tre Dita is Funke’s temperature- and humidity-controlled Pasta Lab, visible to guests on their way to the main dining room.

“Pasta, much like bread, is an animal that’s affected by its immediate environment,” Pinto said. “Providing a consistent temperature and humidity within the pasta lab allows pasta makers the opportunity to produce a consistent product in a controlled environment.”

This attention to authenticity goes toward the goal of transporting guests to Tuscany, by telling the culinary story in “full illustration, she said. 

“The experience is enriched by dozens and dozens of products sourced directly from Tuscany and surrounding regions that lend nuance, and terroir to the overall dining experience,” Pinto added.

Top-selling menu items include Fiori di Zucca (Chef Funke’s signature squash blossoms stuffed with ricotta and Parmigiano Reggiano); Polpette di Bollito (braised beef short rib meatballs, the sauce of the braised beef, and Pecorino Sardo Dolce cheese); La Panzanella salad (made with Puglia-style burrata, cherry tomatoes, market vegetables, basil, and fried bread); Gamberi in Salsa Verde (blue prawns, salsa verde, lemon); Pici Cacio E Pepe (made with aged pecorino croccolo cheese and black pepper); Tagliatelle Al Ragu (Tuscan meat sauce, pecorino grande and fennel); Branzino Alla Brace (grilled Adriatic sea bass, purple artichokes, shaved fennel, mint and lemon); a New York strip (16-ounce prime Demkota Ranch beef made with with sea salt and extra virgin olive oil); and Torta Della Nonna (Madagascar vanilla and citrus pine nut streusel).

Adjacent to Tre Dita is Bar Tre Dita, focusing on Italian spirits and whiskies, offering signature cocktails and a wide selection of amari (Italian bittersweet liqueurs), grappa, and vermouth. The St. Regis Chicago’s Bar & Spirits Director Diane Corcoran developed the beverage program, which includes the Garibaldi Banger (made with Panarea Sunset gin, Campari, vanilla-anise liqueur, and orange), Tre (a spin on a martini made with Piucinque Italian gin, Contratto Bianco vermouth, Lorenzo Inga Gavi di Gavi Grappa, and lemon) and the Dita (an Italian update on a classic Manhattan made with Sazerac rye, Sfumato Rabarbaro, Punt e Mes Italian vermouth, Cynar 70 Proof artichoke-based liquer, Luxardo Antico sour cherry apertif, house bitters, and cherry).

Designed as a love letter

The design of Tre Dita’s space, by David Collins Studio, has generated buzz since the restaurant’s launch. The interior is heavily inspired by traditional Tuscan architecture, craft and materiality distilled to key elements and reimagined for the modern setting, said Simon Rawlings, chief creative officer at David Collins Studio. 

“The anticipation begins at the arrival, where guests catch a glimpse of Chef Funke’s Pasta Lab,” Rawlings said. “From the open kitchen to timber-clad rooms and expansive lake views, Tre Dita is extremely special. A rich timber-lined ‘gastronomic tunnel,’ flanked by a pair of generous Tuscan urns sets the tone. Colors of Tuscany are evident, and we have worked tirelessly to perfect and refine these. The dining room is dominated by patchwork glazing, which creates glimmer and intimacy in this enormous space, while beams float overhead.”

The Italian-focused dessert menu is by The St. Regis Chicago pastry chef and Netflix’s “School of Chocolate” winner, Juan Gutierrez. Wine Director Kat Hawkins curates the list of more than 700 Italian wines, with a focus on Tuscany, small producers and a collection of vintage bottles. Guests may try several pours from the same producer as they move through their meal and end their visit with one of the extensive variety of dessert wines, including more than 30 types of Vin Santo and grappa. Like Funke, Hawkins sought to tell a specific story.

“It is a love letter to Italy,” she said.

Tad Wilkes is a writer and editor in the hotel food and beverage industry.

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