The Metropolitan Room is still the best cabaret space in New York — more comfortable, clubbier and far less expensivethan the ridiculously overpriced Feinstein's at the Regency.

On December 9, I heard the second show in YVONNE CONSTANT's run at the Metropolitan Room. I go to cabaret performances for the same reason I go to opera — to be taken to a place I wouldn't have found on my own.

Thin and petite, dressed in a short, silver shift with a white body-stocking that made her look a little like a Gallic CAROL CHANNING, Constant gave the audience an absolutely singular nightclub performance.

Her show covered French songs from the May 1968 rebellion — the general strike that nearly toppled the DeGaulle government and ultimately did usher in a new, more liberal era — to the 1990s.

High points included Jacques Brel's "Bruxelles"; "One of Those Songs," her hit from La Plume de Ma Tante, which earned her a Tony; a stunning version of "Comme d'Habitude," the original French version of "My Way," done in the tough, dry French manner rather than the self-congratulatory, I've-done-it-all Sinatra style;

"It Must Be Him" — again the French version, and very different from the deliciously overwrought VIKKI CARR rendition we're all used to; and "Mon Vieux," a tribute to fatherly love that brought a profound hush over the entire room.

Constant has style, panache, dizzy wit, and unbelievable energy; this was one of the finest cabaret acts I've ever experienced.

Her music director was the excellent RUSS KASSOFF.