What you see is what you get at the classy, West Broadway warehouse rehab, the Metropolitan. Well, almost . . .

A midwinter press release announced the arrival of Mikel Trapp, the much heralded executive chef at the Stein Eriksen Lodge at Deer Valley. I found the chef change curious, but I was delighted to learn that his creative talents would become more localized.The upscale spot fortunately knows a regular clientele, but with an average dinner for two totaling more than $100, it stretches the dining-out budgets for the majority of locals.

To simplify the fascinating menu, the chef offers a tasting, a nibble of between five and 10 courses as a sampler. Both vegetarian ($50) and "carnivorous" tasting ($65) occur with an "as quoted" price dependent on the seasonal availability and individual composition.

As a vegetarian entree, the chef constructed a Potato-crusted Goat Cheese Cannelloni, a richly-flavored cheese and crunchy spring vegetable Italian-style burrito wrapped with a crusty potato skin. The second tasting entree, Roasted Loin of Wild Boar, may have been better off left in the wilds.

A better selection may be the Grilled Saddle of Lamb ($26) with a goat cheese potato puree or the Roasted Breast of Chicken ($18).

Unusual timing for a palate cleanser, but the mild White Peach Sorbet was refreshing after the main offerings and prior to dessert.

Smaller portions in a simpler, more limited menu are available at a slightly reduced fee in the cafe surrounding the entry bar.

Barring any unforeseen inheritances or a windfall income tax refund, the Metropolitan's expensive fare fails to satisfy frequent dining-out adventures, but it's a fascinating experience in the exploration of a truly innovative grouping of foods, regardless of the executive chef's name or experience.

Rating: * * * *

The Metropolitan, 173 W. Broadway, 364-3472. Hours: Dinner served from 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, live music on Saturdays. Accepts all major credit cards.