Tapas, paella, and crispy croquettes find a home in a North Las Vegas restaurant that only serves takeout and delivery from a former chef on the Strip. Rafael Salines Catalá, who worked at Julian Serrano Tapas at Aria for 11 years, opened JamonJamon Tapas in July, concentrating on takeout dishes while he looks for a location for his dine-in restaurant.
The chef, born in Alicante, Spain, south of Barcelona on the Mediterranean Sea, worked restaurants in Spain such as El Maestral, Nou Manolín, Restaurante La Seu, Restaurante El Girasol, Goizeco Kabi, and El Tragallum before coming to Las Vegas. He has a degree in gastronomy from Hurtado de Mendoza in Granada and taught gastronomy classes for two years in Cap del Aljup in Santa Pola.
Imported Ibérico ham and cheeses join family feasts that include lechon roasted suckling pig and crispy pork belly prepared baboy style, enough food to feed a family. Four paellas range from al horno with sofrito and pork ribs or fideua de cameron with shrimp to Ibérico pork or the popular black paella with calamari, shrimp, and saffron in squid ink. All paellas range from $29 to $42 and feed two.
Tapas drive the menu, with gammas al ajillo, pan con tomato or manchego cheese, patatas al la brava, and bacon-wrapped dates making the roster. Tapas start at $5 and go up to $16 for the secreto Ibérico skewer with Moroccan-spiced piquillo peppers or seared octopus.
Catalá recommends any of the croquetas, and even sells olive oils, preserved vegetables, and tinned seafood on his site, as well as a whole leg of Ibérico ham.
A daily happy hour in the afternoon starts at 2 p.m. with discounted pricing on some tapas such as avocado toast and empanadillas stuffed with beef picadillo and chorizo,
Catalá says that he started working on the restaurant at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and wanted to keep it simple since he didn’t know what the future would bring. “The majority of the customers who come in say, ‘You have to do dining,’” he says. “This is why we will decided to start looking for a place to move.”
So he continues to look for a restaurant space. For now, about 80 percent of his customers order directly from the restaurant online for takeout.
JamonJamon Tapas, 2987 Las Vegas Boulevard N., North Las Vegas, 702-762-2844. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.