The New York Diet

Albert Hammond Jr. of the Strokes Keeps It in the East Village

“At Frank I usually get the foot-long sausage and polpettine sandwich.”Photo: Melissa Hom
Is Albert Hammond Jr. — the Strokes guitarist who’ll perform songs off his solo album, Yours to Keep, at Maxwell’s on Saturday — truly a creature of the East Village? When we talked to him, he was on his way to a rare business lunch at Second Avenue institution Frank. He clued us into some other neighborhood favorites when he recounted everything he ate during the past week.

Thursday, November 9
For breakfast I had Raisin Bran. I usually don’t have business lunches — maybe one every couple of years. But I go to Frank for lunch and brunch. I’m also a fan of Jewel Bako, Lavagna, and Lil’ Frankie’s. I keep it in my neighborhood. At Frank I usually get the foot-long sausage and polpettine sandwich.

Wednesday, November 8
I had Raisin Bran. For lunch I made a sandwich at home: roast beef, lettuce, tomato and basil, and mustard on wheat. For dinner I had a little bit of sandwich meat.

Tuesday, November 7
I had brunch at Brown: soft-boiled eggs and smoked salmon. They make good soft-boiled eggs; it reminds me of when I was a kid. Whether it’s a toasted baguette or a small slice of toast, the bread is what makes it so special.

I had Japanese that night — I go to Esashi. It’s literally across the street from my place. If I could afford it, I’d eat Japanese every day.

Monday, November 6
Monday I did Brown for breakfast.

Later I looked up all the Japanese restaurants in my vicinity that deliver a Japanese soup called yosenabe. It’s a seafood soup with clear noodles. When I was a kid, my parents’ friends were Japanese so when I was sick I’d always get it.

For dinner I went to Lavagna. It’s the place I go to most. They usually have a fish special; every day it changes. That night it was a hake or cod on roasted eggplant with a very light pea sauce. I like red wine, and the owner picks a bottle for me every time I come.

Sunday, November 5
I ate a lot of fruit all day.

At night I went to La Esquina. In L.A. it’s really easy to find great Mexican food from the chains, but New York doesn’t have them. This is one of the amazing [Mexican restaurants].

Saturday, November 4
I enjoy cooking, so I made a full English breakfast — bacon, baked beans, potatoes, fried eggs, mushrooms, the works.

Later I had some lentil soup.

For dinner I went to Hasaki. They have uni and squid together with a little ginger. They also have a Spanish mackerel. They fry the whole fish, and you eat all the bones.

Friday, November 3
I played a show on Friday — after that I was hanging out with friends. Usually before a show I can’t eat; afterwards I love to pig out. My theory is, you don’t want to get something just because you’re hungry for it, if you’re in a place that doesn’t do it well. So in Canada or the Midwest, I go for ribs or steak. West Coast, it’s In-N-Outs or Mexican food. On the East Coast: pizza.

— As told to Daniel Maurer

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Albert Hammond Jr. of the Strokes Keeps It in the East Village