Time Out New York announced their 2011 Food & Drink Awards winners last week with an initimate tasting event held at Le Poisson Rouge.

We heard a few welcoming words by Food & Drink editor Jordana Rothman, who explained that the awards ceremony was switched up from years past: instead of a traditional awards presentation, this year tables of some of the winners and nominees set up shop with samplings of their signature dishes for guests to try.  After all, what’s a foodie event without actual food?

Vince Giordano and the Nighthawks played while we enjoyed the morsels.  Personal favorites included Rubirosa‘s meatball bruschetta and the chicken biscuits from Pies ‘n’ ThighsTchoup Shop served up a duck and okra gumbo with andouille sausage.  The Brindle Room had a “Frito Pie” which was chili and cheese topped on Fritos in a carnival-esque cone.

For dessert, the glazed donuts from ABC Kitchen were seemingly normal, until you took a bite of the chocolate donut and realize that they were encrusted with bacon.  I’m usually not a pie person, but Four & Twenty Blackbird’s salty honey pie seriously hit the spot.  I guess the sweet-and-salty combo is becoming a fast trend in the dessert world.

The Daily Meal lists out the Time Out New York 2011 winners and nominees:

Readers’ Choice Award Winners

Best New Cocktail Bar: Dram
Nominees: Lani Kai, Painkiller, Weather Up Tribeca

Best New Restaurant: ABC Kitchen
Nominees: M. Wells, Osteria Morini, Torrisi

Best Southern Comfort: Pies ‘n’ Thighs
Nominees: The Commodore, Peels, Tchoup Shop

Best New Neighborhood Joint: Thistle Hill Tavern
Nominees: Bringle Room, Brooklyn Farmacy, Jeffrey’s Grocery

Best Comeback: The John Dory Oyster Bar
Nominees: Annisa, The Brooklyn Star, Hecho en Dumbo

Best New Pizza: Paulie Gee’s
Nominees: Best Pizza, La Pizza & Pasta at Eataly, Rubirosa

Best New Brooklyn Restauant: Fatty ‘Cue
Nominees: Kaz An Nous, Peaches HotHouse, Traif

Chef of the Year: Dan Kluger, ABC Kitchen
Nominees: April Bloomfield (The John Dory), Hugue Dufour (M. Wells), Rich Torrisi and Mario Carbone (Torrisi)

Empire Builder of the Year: David Chang
Nominees: Bobby Munekata (Hide-Chan Ramen), Gabriel Stulman (Fedora), Michael White (Osteria Morini)

Best New Local: The Tangled Vine Wine Bar & Kitchen
Nominees: Bier International, Lady Jay’s, Woodwork

Critics’ Picks

The Don’t Hate on Canada Award: M. Wells
Best Lei in Town: Painkiller
Best Boundary-Busting Comfort Food: Fedora
The Go Big or Go Home Award: Osteria Morini
Best Checkmate to Ippudo: Hide-Chan Ramen
The Alpha-Grocer Award: Eataly
Artisans of the Year: Four & Twenty Blackbird
The Pretty Thai for a White Guy: Kin Shop
Best Red-Sauce Rebuttal: Torrisi
Best Reason to Go Dutch: Vandaag

Happy eatings!