By Lisa Petrillo

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – With million dollar mega yachts and large boats as a backdrop, YOT Bar & Kitchen at The Lauderdale Marine Center is a sea lover’s dream come true.

Owner Mike Linder also has Jet Runway Cafe at Fort Lauderdale Airport and Silver Lining Inflight catering for private jets.

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“When they showed me the spot, I couldn’t turn it down, “ said Linder. “It was amazing. I was like this is it. This is a slam dunk. This is exactly what I do and what my concepts of restaurants are about.”

The boats bring in the view, while the restaurant on land keeps that nautical theme going inside and out. It also features a floating dock and bar.

“It’s simple, nautical, Cape Cod, Nantucket. Not pelicans and pilings. Just classy, classic nautical and simple just like the food,” Linder said.

“I’m looking around here outside and it’s perfect dining here,” said CBS4’s Lisa Petrillo.

“This is what it’s all about. This is what it’s about. This is the experience that we were going for,” said Linder. “What’s better in South Florida than to have an outdoor restaurant, especially inside of a mega-yacht marina in Fort Lauderdale?” We’re surrounded by them 10 months out of the year the other two months the boats gets to travel.”

The 200 seat restaurant opened just before Covid shutdowns and reopened in May to big crowds. Linder said it works because of his three-letter motto.

“I just want them to experience the service, the food, and the location. SFL, that’s what we’re about, SFL, service, food, location. If you hit the service and you hit the food you’ve got it all,” he explained.

In the kitchen, Executive Chef Kelly O’Hara cooked up a few highlights of their stepped-up American menu with an emphasis on fresh seafood for Petrillo to try.

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He sat down with her for a tasting, which began with the fresh, cool, and light Ahi tuna carpaccio with avocado crema, orange citrus, and sliced jalapeños finished with a yuzu vinaigrette.

“It’s super light. It’s really fresh,” said O’Hara.

Petrillo agreed.

Next was miso salmon with quinoa, Shiseido peppers, Napa cabbage, shiitake mushrooms in a ponzu sauce.

“You’ve get a lot of savory saltiness from the ponzu, but the miso glaze kind of counterbalances it in an underlying sweetness I’d say,” said O’Hara.

“Sweet, savory, so moist. It’s delicious, one of the best I’ve tried,” said Petrillo

Well, I’m glad you said that,” said O’Hara.

Then came seared sea scallops with a miso corn purée, wild mushrooms, and smoked bacon topped with vanilla lemon brown butter.

“So the Irish lad knows how to use a lot of different Asian ingredients to make this a really special scallop,” said Petrillo.

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YOT Bar & Kitchen is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and Saturday and Sunday brunch and dinner.

Lisa Petrillo