This is an unsent letter, intended for the Kings Table. I never did finish it, but here it is. I had expected the normal holiday meal, but that is not what they served. My fault, I didn't even look to see what they had.

Dear Owner or Manager,

On Dec. 28,1997 I called the Elmer Dills' radio restaurant show and commented something like, "I've been eating at the Kings Table for years, and I really have to congratulate them for doing a good job on the holidays." On Jan. 1, 1998 I returned and was disappointed with the choice of buffet items and their preparations.

My recommendation was based on many years of good dinning on the holidays, including the most recent Thanksgiving and Christmas days. I had planned to write a review of this restaurant, and I would have taken notes, but my reaction to the food canceled that plan. Instead I submit my comments from memory.

COMMENTS. I always enjoy the salad bar, and it was good this day, but I may have hunted a little more than usual for the prime spinach leaves. Next came the bread section and, where there are usually two breads, there were four. Since I don't enjoy normal breads, I wondered why they wasted this space. The two soups never include my favorites, but the chicken noodle and chili bean were ok. I became alarmed in the starch and vegetable section. There were two potato dishes, gravy, two vegetables, and rice - quite normal - but no stuffing and in its place were BBQ beans. The big disappointment started in the protein sections. There were two flavors of fried chicken and a steamed fish fillet, as usual. I only sample these to reaffirm my own dislike for fried chicken and buffet fish. A new item for the holidays was buffet pizza in two flavors. As a ex-New Yorker I could rate it as similar or better than the chain pizzerias. The final disappointment was at the carving station. Instead of the usual holiday carved turkey, ham, and roast beef it was ham, roast beef and beef ribs. The ham is always good, the roast beef is always well done, and beef ribs - not my favorite. I missed the turkey. The beverage and condiment station was almost normal. Help yourself to several sodas, tea, and regular or decaf coffee with artificial or real half-and-half. Missing were the horseradish sauce, which a employee brought, and cranberry sauce. The dessert station included the usual soft ice-creams, puddings, jello, deep-dish apple, deep-dish chocolate, and more. But missing was pumpkin pie, and at this point I had lost interest in dessert. Overall, I missed the turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie and the new items couldn't compensate for their omission.