Recently I have found an Aesopian expression which attracted my observation because of its twofold meaning.
“That’s super. You’d better let me find the eating place, though: Tom’s not too hot restaurantwise. There’s a brand new with-in place in Greek Street. I’m sure you’d all like it….”
“We had to put him in the team although he’s not too hot at the game-there was nobody else available.”
“I bought this sweater for you-it’s not too hot, but it was the only one they had your size.”
Supposing that the root of the expression above is “hot” = “of great current interest, something is very good” and knowing the expression “too hot to handle” we can conclude that the meaning of “not too hot” is “ not very good at something, or something is not very good.”
Would you tell to me whether the usage of this expression is common in your surroundings?
I work in a retail environment in the US around a lot of college-aged people in a large city. They're usually at the forefront of slang, and I've noticed that "not too hot" isn't used much anymore. The phrase, "That's hot" is still in strong use, but more in a sarcastic way, i.e. "I heard Elaine dumped you right before your interview. That's hot." For the most part, "hot" meaning vogue has been replaced by "sweet" and "tight", and "not too hot" has fallen from popularity as well, though everyone would understand the phrase easily. Hot is mostly restricted to mean a sexy personal appearance now. A phrase similar to "not too hot" that is currently very popular in my area is, "not so much." For example, "That guy Becky was dating is hot. The new guy in customer service... not so much."