My fiance and I took his parents for their anniversary to the Malibu Grill in Columbia. Never again!
It was a reasonable size gathering of family members (10) and not only were we all pitching in for the parents' meals, we "had" to pitch in for their grand-daughter, her fiance, and their two children as well.
As this was to be a lunch affair and none of his family members are anywhere close to chowhounds, we felt this the safest bet as well as being fairly reasonable in price (they understand buffet). B and I had never been to this establishment but we'd had a fabulous time at the Green Field Churrascaria in Rockville. We broke rule #1, don't assume all restaurants in a category are the same!
The hostess was young but at least cordial. She went through her routine of how the restaurant worked and then disappeared. We followed the family members up to the buffet and attempted to help them out. Not really necessary when you have items like potato wedges, carrot salad, and CHICKEN LO MEIN in the bins. Edible but nothing to write home about.
This should have been a warning that this was a cheap imitation of a Brazilian barbecue but we hoped for the best.
Though the restaurant wasn't crowded, we had to constantly flag down a waiter in order to get any meat what so ever. At least meat was well done though the overall selection was tame.
We never did see our waitress or hostess again until time for the bill. AND THAT IS WHEN I LOST MY COOL!
We sat for a bit and debated on dessert or not, a few people ordered coffees. When we decided we'd finish up the festivities at home, we called for the check. When it arrived, B and I were startled at the amount. It was far more than it should have been and when I retotaled I realized it was dinner prices. We quietly flagged over the hostess (the waitress was still missing) to explain the error but she said that no, it was correct. She went onto say that their billing system was done entirely by computer and that since we were, hold on to your hats, 10 minutes into dinner, by the time we asked for the check, the computer had already switched over to dinner prices!
I, more loudly than I should have I know, let her know I really didn't care what the computer thought as we'd only had lunch and that she should "fix" the check. She hummed and hawwed until B and his brother, probably to avoid me furiously requesting a manager, went ahead and paid the ridiculous fee.
All in all, his parents loved the experience and have since taken their friends there. I will never set foot in their again and will in no way recommend it to anyone.