Address: 336 West Broadway, Salt Lake City, UT 84101. 801.363.4444.
Review: First things first, Bruges ain't no McDonald's, nor is it a Waffle House, although it sells both fries (a.k.a. frites) and waffles (a.k.a. gaufres). While I don't usually comment on ambiance (because, in the end, who really cares? It's all about how the food tastes), this place is wonderfully unpretentious. It's small like a phone booth is small. In fact, more institutional space seems devoted to the mayonnaise container than to customer seating. Eat outside or take the food to go. And now, the food.
Bruges's frites are made in the Belgian vein. They are thicker than the shoestring potatoes, yet they are smaller than steak fries (thankfully, because, really, who's ever had a good steak fry?). The key to frites like these is the cooking, or rather double cooking. They are initially partially cooked in oil in order to cook them through. Then they are cooked a second time in order to crisp the outside. This procedure produces a light, airy, and crispy frite. These fatty little crunchy gems are paired with hand-made mayonnaise. (This is as it should be. Once you try a good mayonnaise with fries, you'll never want ketchup again.) The mayonnaise selection is wide-ranging. I tried the aioli (mayo with garlic) and a spicy version, the name of which I can't remember. Both were quite good. These were the best fries I've had in a very, very long time.
And then there are the waffles. These waffles are yeast risen, and are not poured; the dough is far too thick for that. They are sweet and dense, with a good amount of crispiness on the outside. My wife and I ordered ours with creme fraiche. This decision is a departure from our wont to put nutella on bready desserts, but what a grand departure it was. The creme fraiche was both light and lightly sweetened -- a great compliment to the waffle.
I dig this joint, a lot. It has become the go-to place when I need a fix for fat, salt, and potatoes. My one disappointment was the price. Usually, this stuff is simple street food in Europe, and is priced accordingly. At Bruges, however, the food is priced as if you were sitting down at a restaurant. That said, I'll be paying whatever they want in perpetuity.
Rating: 8/10 (5/10 is average)
Update: Last night, I took a friend to Bruges's for his birthday. He ordered the torpedo (two chocolate bars melted inside a liege waffle). Said it was grand, he did. I went the savory route and purchased a machine gun sandwich. It's a baguette stuffed with lamb sausage, topped with frites, and smothered in sauce andalouse. Yeah, two words describe this sandwich: big, money. Each component was quite good, and each was designed to accentuate the the meaty nature of the sandwich. In all, great combination of savory flavors. I would suggest, however, sharing this sandwich with a loved one. Eating the entire thing is almost a sisyphean undertaking.