I just came back from eating at Ipanema's in Seattle and it was fabulous. The atmosphere was clean and tropical and very brazilian and the meat melted off the bones. The outside of the meats were nicely smoked and partially blackenned "churro" and the inside remained tender. Just visted Malibu in Fairfax, Va and it was awful. Even the salad bar items were bland, the meat was dry and had little to no marinade $19/person, not worth $5. I filled myself with the roasted potatoes (the only thing with any flavor and not dry) Very disappointed! Someone please recommend me to a good one in Va with the same "gaucho" concept...please.
I started a fresh thread about these places just a few days ago. I go to the Malibu Grill at Bailey's Crossroads maybe once or twice a year and didn't find it to be as bad as you reported. Maybe it's really better than the one in Fairfax, maybe you went on a bad night, or maybe my local one has gotten worse. But the general consensus around here is that Malibu is the worst of the lot. Me, I'm not that discriminating when I feel like eating a lot of meat in one sitting.
The only other one in Virginia is a fairly new one near Tyson's Corner called Chima (8010 Towers Crescent Drive). I haven't tried it yet. It's $44 as opposed to the $19 at Malibu, and it got a rather lukewarm review (meat relatively tasteless) in the Washington Post shortly after it opened. The only one that consistently gets rave reviews by the Chowhounds is Fogo de Chao downtown.
There's a Tejas de Brazil due to open in Fair Oaks later this month. At $50, it's the most expensive of the lot. Are you game for finding out if top dollar gets you meat that makes you happy? I'm not.
Agree with MikeR. Fogo de Chao is definitely better. The salad bar is pretty much just salads, and does not include all the hot dishes that Greenfield's does, but by far, the meat is superior as is the service. I've *never* had a bad experience at a Fogo de Chao and I've been to a few different locations, including DC 3 times when friends are visiting. The 2 times I've gone to Greenfield's, I've had waiters blantantly *ignore* our table - very embarrassing when entertaining friends.
This discussion comes around every six months or so. You can search the forum and probably find the most recent one.
Summary is that nearly everyone thought that Fogo was much better than Greenfield and was worth the difference in price (close to double at dinner).
The tip is to go to Fogo at lunch where (so they say) they have everything that they have at dinner but at a substantially lower price.