EH LITTLE LIBRARY –– Rated the number 15 best food establishment within the greater Charlotte area by The Pines’s critically-acclaimed, bimonthly foodie magazine, Elderly Eats, the E.H. Little Library’s first floor restaurant, “V-ending,” by all means matched its famous reputation.
Sporting a seasonal menu, the library’s premier gastropub offered a spin on classic Americana. The ambiance created an authentic snack joint exterior, and the smell of printer ink and moldy book pages enhanced the rich flavors of the Spicy-Hot Cheetos appetizers, which remain the highlight of my dining experience (and have literally remained on my stained fingertips).
Though the weighty silence of the dining room seemed to enhance every crunch and crackle, the ambiance served to enhance the flavors and experience of enjoying the tapas-style menu. The dead-eyed, library work-study students doubled as attentive, if slightly unnerving, wait-staff.
The main course failed to disappoint; dry-aged honey buns from 2007 paired well with the vaguely iron-tasting latte from the adjacent machine.
While the pricing of food seemed shockingly high, the complex array of dishes was more than worthy of siphoning my remaining 15 dining dollars. The slightly nuanced funk of the dill pickle Lays chips blended umami and savory flavors, and the air-fried, lightly balanced veggie sticks satisfied the tongue and titillated the palate.
While a dessert of calcified Cliff Bars seemed an over-thought creation on the part of the chef, Ralph Gouda, the crumbled, dusty Aunt Annie’s cookies re-inscribed a childhood nostalgia that brought a single tear to my eye.
Though I seemed to be constipated for eight days following my meal and experienced a series of loud burps which awakened the sleeping economics student in the fishbowl, I can confidently say that I’ll be visiting V-ending again.
Whatever direction the V-ending will take in upcoming years will undoubtedly excite locals with its commitment to culinary excellence and experimentation. Chef Gouda, who doubles as the after hours librarian, claimed to be working with local farmers to bring “my take on the cheesy cracker to the menu.”
“We hope to move more towards a tapas-style menu, with an emphasis on well-sourced organic ingredients,” said Gouda, shooting back canned cheese spray.
“We’re committed to transforming food in new and exciting ways. We’ll be featuring a gummy-bear emulsion this winter that’ll hopefully land us the Michelin star we’ve been gunning for since we opened in 1982” Gouda continued.