Gaze upon this burger and despair.
Limelight's executive chef, Lefty Karropoulus will make a deal with you. Finish his pound-and-a-half burger in 20 minutes or less and he will rename it after you.
The catch is that both the patty and one of the sauces topping the burger are infused with ghost chilies.
Sure, there's a habanero sauce, too, but the heat of a piddling habanero doesn't hold a candle to a chili that is currently being weaponized by the Indian military.
Still not impressed? Perhaps some perspective will help. On the Scoville scale a habanero rates between 100,000 to 350,000 Scoville Heat Units (SHUs). The hottest recorded ghost chili was measured at just over 1,000,000 SHU's. Pepper spray is rated at around 5,000,000 SHU's. Eating something with 1/5 the heat of a cop's pepper spray probably explains why the restaurant requires you to sign a waiver.
Twelve brave souls have made the attempt but only one has succeeded, and that's why the dish is currently called the "Michael Katto Burger."
Actually, Lefty himself managed to bolt one down in six minutes but that was only after a customer claimed it was an impossible task. The closest anyone else has gotten is halfway and the remainder all gave up after one or two bites.
The precautions necessary to handle weapons-grade chilies and how our intern felt after just a taste, after the jump.
Why would Lefty create such a burger?
"I like when it burns," Lefty says with a smile. He adores the chilies smoky flavor and, of course, its insane heat.
Lefty imports his ghost chilies directly from India and he dehydrates them in-house to preserve their heat. The process of dehydrating them occurs overnight because it makes the kitchen uninhabitable. It is the responsibility of the first person to arrive to throw open all the doors and air the kitchen out. Actually making the sauce requires the chilies to be bloomed directly into hot butter and it requires Lefty to don a mask to keep the fumes from burning his throat and eyes. Lefty says his other chefs refuse to make the ghost chili sauce so the task falls to him.
Lefty says that many cooks use cayenne to spice food but that this is only provides an initial heat that passes quickly. In contrast, the heat from a ghost chili is almost insidious. The heat is not immediate, rather it kindles slowly on your tongue before bursting into a conflagration that steadily engulfs your whole mouth and simply never lets up.
At least that was my own experience after sampling less than a teaspoon of the sauce.
Ready to take on Michael Katto Burger yourself? It'll cost you $21 and a trip to 4218 N. Scottsdale Road, in Scottsdale.