Bartender Chat: Dale Ellington of Kata Robata

Welcome to Eating...Our Words' Bartender Chat, in which we sit down with local bartenders and get to know their style. Whether they're slinging beers or mixing complex cocktails, bartenders are our buddies and confidants, but we're turning the tables and the camera on them to find out what they're passionate about and what makes them some of Houston's best.

Kata Robata does so much more than sushi. The ramen is some of the best in a town still searching for ideal ramen. The lobster mac and cheese makes any other mac and cheese seem subpar. And the beverage program includes sake cocktails that will knock your socks off.

Steven Salazar is the beverage director for Kata Robata, and he's turned the bar into a well-oiled machine that pumps out delightfully unique cocktails to pair with the restaurant's alternately traditional and cutting-edge Japanese food. Dale Ellington is his protégé and partner in crime, and together the two are mixing up playful and innovative drinks, sure to keep people who think they know Kata Robata guessing.

Here, Dale talks to us about his role at Kata Robata, wine versus sake and why he hates White Russians.

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Kaitlin Steinberg